In conversation … Jean-Claude Lebensztejn and Malcolm Morley
Okay, but that means that you believe in some power.
Well, yes, that painting can create anxiety in the viewer.
Can create some kind of reaction, which you can control.
Which the painting can control?
Which the painter can control if he can control his painting.
Is this what you mean?
Well, there’s a way of painting, Francis Bacon puts it best, that goes directly to the central nervous system, and that affects you in a way in which if you give somebody a pill, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative or a Republican or a pervert or Chinese or American, the effect of the pill will affect you as long as the pill lasts. Do you know what I’m saying? If you give somebody LSD, the cannot resist it because it comes through the central nervous system.
So you are saying that the painting, and therefore the painter can influence the viewer.
Yes. Because I think all great painting comes from the central nervous system, and no other way. And that less-great paintingdoes not. Cézanne, Titian, it goes right to the biologic aspect and second-rate painting does not.
But now we’re talking about the power of painting. And you say the power of painting is biological and not political.
Yes, this is what I mean. This is what I feel to be true.
The conversation is also going to be published in the exhibition catalogue.
Accompanying the exhibition Malcolm Morley: Sensations, this publication highlights the life and work of the artist by citing quotes from fellow artists—both friends and colleagues of Malcolm Morley—, which emphasize the key aspects of his painting practice. The quotes included in this book range from personal stories and reflections on the personality of the artist, as well as deeply insightful musings about the character of his oeuvre and the medium of painting. ‘The difference between one Morley and another is in the ideas they contain about painting which take me beyond the visual’, says Richard Serra when asked his opinion on Morley’s work.