PRINT January 1994

His Lash


Miró’s line was thick in the early years, especially if he was painting away from Paris. Shouldn’t be called simply line. Was itself a figure.

Its connection to the ground however was tangential. It sat on it, like a feather, albeit with resilience, more like a sleeping duck: the line of ink, crayon, pencil, physically different from its neighbor paint, web-footed, hovering on flow, like scum? Aragon said that it was as if he hadn’t really painted, as if the canvas below had once been the painting, making Miró’s mark an alien, late-coming something-else.1 True enough. And yet this line maintained a direction, never forgetting that it had fallen upon painting from a somewhere-else, like a hair.

Lyrical abrasion. The Spanish dance. The tangent moves off point and in so doing opens into space. The dancer pictures have no repeated, returning syncopation, make no noise, no click of the castanets. Little tacks nail, triangles hang executed, no one steps, noose floats. Why the tuft of hair? A pit? Who needs the wig? Who wants it? This one hugs as it scratches. Scratching back toward the somewhere-else from which it thinks it came? Little black hair has no legs though. Wig floats.

Up or down?

The lash keeps falling short. To call it “Spanish” seems too literal, premature. Might as well call it straight.

Physical difference is deliberately unformulated. And so this, which is more our problem than Miró’s, needs no further thought, his difference purely a touch and a separation, all dance, no cry, no pain.

Hair out of place, hair sans comb, hair on the soup, though that would change in a few years when Miró came to paste illustrated combs (among other things) onto paper and to use those studies as the deep structure for painted compositions. As if to give an old master, female logic (teeth?) to the little lines, the presences, familiar dark follicle ghosts. But to name the lines as if they really were a substance, or one of Wittgenstein’s substantives, would he to misunderstand their physical drift. All difference being mobile, they were mobile too. These figures will not take the form of organized knowledge. Leave them be.

Return to outer space. He tried.

His hair was always light as well as black.

Hair found breath, his exhalation.His hair his constellation.

Seeing-as: stars.

I know, you have to wait.

Molly Nesbit teaches art history at Vassar College. She is working on a video project with Darryl Turner and Patricia Moreno, Aerobics: Dead Men Can’t Dance.



1. Louis Aragon, “La peinture au défi,” 1930, Les collages, Paris: Hermann, 1980, p. 73.