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Victory over Death: The Art of Colin McCahon

Victory over Death: The Art of Colin McCahon (Trade Paperback / Paperback)

By Butler, Rex
By Simmons, Laurence

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Perhaps at the origin of all thinking about culture lies the question of the afterlife. The artist makes their work hoping that it will live on after their death. The critic reads or looks at the work wondering whether a future audience will engage with it. Victory over Death: Th...e Art of Colin McCahon takes up this question of the afterlife of the work of art by looking at the work of the New Zealand painter Colin McCahon, who is often described as one of the most important Australasian artists of the twentieth century. Imagine for a moment being a great artist in faraway and culturally marginal New Zealand in the 1950s. The audience for your work does not yet exist. You are destined to die unknown. So, what does McCahon do? He makes work as do all the artists we remember for a future audience. It is they who will grant him eternal life. It is they who will allow him to live on. In this, as McCahon well knew, he was like Jesus, who similarly lives on through his Apostles. And this act of religious transmission increasingly becomes the real subject of McCahons work. Just as he becomes an Apostle of Christ, so we become Apostles of McCahon. And in so doing, McCahon tells us something profound about art, whose truth would lie not so much in what it tells us as in its act of telling. McCahons Victory over death 2 (1970), a huge black and white painting featuring the words I AM and evocative of the cloudy mountains of New Zealand, is now in the National Gallery of Australia, where it and Jackson Pollocks Blue Poles (1952) are regarded as the two most significant works in the collection. It is a painting about the resurrection of Christ, but every time someone stands before the painting and looks at it is also McCahon who is granted a certain victory over death. Victory over Death: The Art of Colin McCahon seeks to speak of this small miracle of art and the particular life or even afterlife it grants both the artist and their audience.
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ISBN 9781922464750
Published NZ 1 Nov 2021
Publisher Monash University Publishing
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (2 other possible title(s) available)
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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781922464750
Stock Available
Status In-stock at supplier; ships 7-14 working days
Publisher Monash University Publishing
Imprint Monash University Publishing
Published 1 Nov 2021
Publication Country Australia Australia
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
 › 2 other possible formats available
Author(s) By Butler, Rex
By Simmons, Laurence
Category Theory Of Art
Religious Subjects Depicted In Art
Biography & Autobiography: Film, Television, Music, Theatre
NZ, Maori & Pasifika
New Zealand
Number of Pages 200
Dimensions Width: 153mm
Height: 234mm
Dewey Code 759.9931
Weight Not specified - defaults to 600g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
NBS Text Biography: The Arts
ONIX Text General/trade