現代美術學報 5
Journal of Taipei Fine Arts Museum 5


Exploring the Borders — Jasper Johns' Paintings with Objects





In the middle period of 20th century in America, the Formalistic art criticism, which led by Clement Greenberg, stressed the self-criticism progression of Modernist art. He deemed that each art had to detennine the effects peculiar and exclusive to itself through the operations peculiar to itself in order to make its possession of this area all the more secure. But by doing this, each art would surely narrow its area of competence relatively. Greenberg's inference regarding Modernist painting concluded that flatness, two-dimensionality, was the only way that Modernist painting finally oriented itself to it. Such essentialistic standard of painting resulted in the crisis of painting during the 50th and 60th in New York. That is to say, painting was confronted with the predicament which is difficult to continue while it was restricted by Greenberg’s essential criterion of flatness.

At the critical moment, Jasper Johns received the frame of reference offered by Marcel Duchamp's ready-made in the history of painting and transformed it, moreover, he took a new field of view which regarded the painting as an object and consistently practiced the multiple experiments of his creations. In view of above, the main part of this article is to investigate that how Johns manipulated the skinny form as the interface of his various works and incarnated the differentiable interactive relations between surface and space of his works. Furthermore, this article attempts to draw on the topological extensity, which is differs greatly from the concept of space of Euclidean Geometry, to propose a new hermeneutic angle for the multiple space of Johns' creations, and then reveal Johns' explorations of the borders which appear indistinctly in his works under the concept of space of topology and as the practical reaction to the crisis of painting caused by Greenberg's formalism. In the end of the context, the viewpoint of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language is applied to deeply explain the reconsideration of painting as a category under the execution of Johns' creations.