Before the Borderless: Dialogues with the Art of Cy Twombly
In 2018, just a few weeks after his father’s death, Dean Rader made a pilgrimage to the Gagosian Gallery in New York to see a retrospective of Cy Twombly’s work, In Beauty It is Finished: Drawings 1951-2008. The exhibit led to a poem that would become the genesis of this book — from loss and fear to regret and beauty, Before the Borderless: The Cy Twombly Cycle reaches for the embodiment of emotion and the aesthetics of possibility.
Through a range of experimental forms, including a series of octets, Rader writes to decode the gestures and energies in Twombly’s drawings and paintings. He reaches past observation and admiration to create a game of echolocation, reflecting Twombly’s infinite scrawls as “saddle stitch, spaghetti curl, white whirl.” Even as Rader searches for proximity, examining the gaps between symbols and what they signify, the collection remains unmistakably autobiographical. From the wheatfields of his Western Oklahoma upbringing to questions of loss—first his father and then his mother, who passed only weeks after Rader finished the manuscript for this book—the poems in Before the Borderless are both elegy and prayer, for Rader’s parents, for his children, for the world.
Blurring the distinction between canvas and page, Twombly’s work often includes lines of poetry from many of the authors who shaped Rader’s work — John Keats, Sappho, Federico García Lorca, and Rainer Maria Rilke. As Rader’s poems are paired with 50 color images of Twombly’s paintings and drawings, the line between looking and reading is blurred. Before the Borderless awakens in the space between language and silence to pose provocative questions about art and its power to heal.
- Authors: Dean Rader and Cy Twombly
- Publisher: Copper Canyon Press 2023
- 144 pages, 11" x 9"
- 50 color images
- ISBN: 9781556596759