drunk on freedom duncan crossley

At some point during my childhood I realised that the art books, which existed in large numbers on the shelves of my home, held a rich and uncensored vein of graphic imagery. Grotesque images of hell and demonic beings like those depicted in work by artists such as Heironymus Bosch and John Martin stirred my initial interest. It didn't take long to find my way to the sexually charged underworlds of Hans Belmer and Balthus. When I discovered photographic anthologies of the kind published by TIME/LIFE in the fifties and sixties, it became clear that these collections had prior claim to the Sunday Sports clever marketing guarantee of "a pair of tits on every page". However, it didn't escape my attention that aside from hunting for filth and gore - which was actually pretty rare except in the photography books - there was a certain refined pleasure in leafing through a mighty monograph or handling a delicate catalogue.
The texts were inscrutable and empty, sometimes completely unintelligible. The images - unlike anything I'd ever seen. My parents and some of their friends had undergone art based training in the sixties. My father taught in F.E with people who'd graduated in the late seventies/early eighties. When I understood what abstraction meant and when I understood that these same people seemed angered by it, I was hooked. I approached the subject with a youthful "Top Trumps" kind of attitude and set about finding out who was the most abstact and who'd done it first. Malevich's Black Square won hands down. The date - 1913. There was a sense of finality about the Black Square; in the originality through abstraction stakes I felt it couldn't be matched. Malevich had hit a hole in one, why go on? Yet rather than end it marked the beginning of a journey backwards away from pure abstraction and then back again through modernism, abstract expressionism and minimalism. People - apart from Ad Reinhardt - kept pretty clear of the Black Square but I always thought it was a talisman of the purest composition.

drunk on freedom duncan crossley
drunk on freedom duncan crossley
drunk on freedom duncan crossley