Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Naming the unnamed

I find that one of the most difficult things to do when you finish a painting is to give it a name. My first temptation is to ‘title’ it “untitled” but then I feel guilty. No decent parent leaves their child unnamed or names them “unnamed”. Most people expect that a painting should have an artistic name, ok, but what’s that? Is it something like “deep emotions” or “the tempest”?
Though I tried different ways to come up with names I never found a winning formula that would give the right name for the right painting. I decided to do some research on the subject. I did not find much but at least found some meaningless stuff about names.......
Jackson Pollock also known as “Jack the Dripper” had five paintings entitled “number 1”. The guy created a special relationship between pissing and art. (Mummy Ghandi bzonn naghmel number 1.) It seems that Warhol’s "Piss Paintings" were a "parody of Jackson Pollock . . . referring to rumors that Pollock would urinate on a canvas before delivering it to a dealer or client he didn't like.”
J C Rowther recounts this story of a novelist who asked Somerset Maugham, to give advice on a title for his new novel. "Are there any tigers in it?" SM asked. The startled young man answered no. "Any drums?" No." "Then call it "No Tigers, No Drums."
In the USA, most boat owners name their boats Obsession.
In the late nineties, a Japanese couple were not permitted by the authorities to name their son Akuma (meaning devil) and in New Zealand in 2002 a couple tried to name their child after a motorcycle gang.
The name Rupert is a Low German form of Robert (till here I knew). Robert means "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and beraht "bright". That’s quite stupid no? How can you name someone "bright fame" when he is not famous yet? What if he decides to be a hermit? Will that make him famous too?
Back to art. An interesting article about naming art could be found here:

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