Cy Twombly - UNTITLED

Year 1970

  • Dimensions:

    405 x 640.3 cm

  • Medium:

    Oil paint & Wax crayon

  • Surface:
    Smooth board


This smoky piece by Twombly is part of a series he drew similarly, with tall circular white marks on a dark board, however, this one distinguishes itself with a sharper quality of his marks and a greater depth and layering than its sister works. In real life, it's an overall large installation and may not look so, but on a smaller scale, the white crayon gives the idea the paint has been scratched off the board, which in his other painting gives a cleaner finish to the paintings, yet in this one the layering causes these marks to blend into the background, and instead of standing out, they become part of the whole. Newer lines intruding onto older ones make it harder to focus on them even if the viewer tried to focus on them. The concept is in my opinion similar to memory, in which older memories become foggy and hazy, and are overlapped by newer ones which demand our attention on more recent matters, eventually drowning older ones.

Exceptional Talent
Untitled- Cy Twombly
The background is a deep warm dark tone, possibly a mix of raw umber and sap green, which suppress each other's saturation and create a very earthy, desaturated mix which constitutes the background. Although the undertones of a generally dark background may seem indifferent, in my opinion, this sense of warm, intimate: it is not about something out in the world, but something personal, familiar, yet to decipher, similar to the experience of trying to recall something.

One word description


n. the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness—to the extent you have to keep reminding yourself that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just days ago—which makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you'd never have to call cut.

From the Dictionary of obscure sorrows

Poem description

That you remember me

Daniel Mark Extrom

I've learned so much throughout my life

but there's much I don't recall.

I know it's in there somewhere

but it's hard to find it all.

It's not that I've forgotten you,

or the things I said I'd do;

I remember everything

but it's hidden somewhere I can't see

just beyond my view.

You see, there is a shadow where

there didn't used to be,

and sometimes when I look right there

it just confuses me.

I remember lovely flowers,

and songs I used to sing.

I remember springtime showers,

and rainbows they would bring.

I remember movies

and who would be the star,

but sometimes it's so hard for me

to know just who you are.

I love to watch a baseball game

or listen to the birds.

I love to tell you secrets.

I love to hear your words.

I love for you to sit with me;

perhaps you'll hold my hand

and tell me that you love me:

that I'll understand.

My mind has ways of taking me

where I don't want to go.

I know I know your name, you see;

just right now it's hard for me

to think of things I really know,

and to know what really is

and what may not be so.

Though I might forget you,

it's important that you see

just how much it means to me

that you remember me.

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