I plan on attending the Cy Twombly exhibit at the Tute later this week. I was looking up reviews of the show online. One such review used a word I never heard of before. One reason I like reading about art is that I often encounter new words which allows me to run them through dictionary.com. “viscerality” is one such word. Here’s the context:
While Twombly’s work over the course of his career has always been rooted in place-his move to Rome, for example, in the late 1950s mirrored his immersion with classical referents and a profound sense of history-rarely has landscape and its components been expressed with such viscerality.
No results on dictionary.com for “viscerality“.
1. of or pertaining to the viscera.
2. affecting the viscera.
3. of the nature of or resembling viscera.
4. characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect: a visceral reaction.
5. characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions; earthy; crude: a visceral literary style.
Ok definitions 4 and 5 can apply here. But I was curious what 1-3 was all about. What’s this viscera?
1. Anatomy, Zoology. the organs in the cavities of the body, esp. those in the abdominal cavity.
2. (not used scientifically) the intestines; bowels.
Uh. I’m not so sure Twombly’s latest works can exactly be related to bowels or body organs.
Image above: Cy Twombly. Untitled (detail), 2007. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Marron, New York.
Cy Twombly. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
1-3 relate to the fact that we feel instinctive reactions in our gut – or viscera.
All of Twombly’s work can bear that relation, since visceral esentially means that something gets you in guts, or feels real. The effective opposite of visceral is cerebral.