GO 2, Statement
In a letter from 1893, wrote Robert Louis Stevenson to his friend, Henry James:
[…] “I HEAR people talking, and I FEEL them acting, and that seems to me to be fiction. My two aims may be described as - 1ST. War to the adjective. 2ND. Death to the optic nerve”.
The gesture of Joseph Beuys in “How to Explain a Painting to a Dead Rabbit” belongs with his wide concept, called "Gegenbildprozess". It shares a similar intuition with the two grand negations that Stevenson pioneered.
This is the spectrum in which I place the entire modern program: “Treasure Island”, on the threshold of the 20th century, “How to Explain a Painting to a Dead Rabbit”, in 1965. In the midst of the century: the great "mechanics": Kafka, Baster Keaton, and Marcel Duchamp, all recoiled from the use of metaphors. Metaphoric? – A good reason for not making art at all!
The major thought of high Modernism has already occurred. Little of this giant project has been absorbed, so it is apt to say, it has hardly begun. Slowly, we begin to digest the missions at hand: how to work more seriously with this legacy.
A live art object, painting or a novel alike, is for me one that picks its subject (content) by its merit to lay bare the piece procedural logic. It is when the subject becomes the very performance of that logic. To maintain such concreteness (when the image is never 'transparent') will doable a non-descriptive art, adjective resistant – non-mimetic, non-translatable, not given to conversion, to commutation, not decodable, and clean of symbolism. An art, with or without figures, that will be truly abstract, an art that will obstruct the mimicry upon which metaphors are established, and will, at last, let free a true account of the tragedy called "Man".
Reading an Art piece is an inquiry into its physical actual giveness, therefore, initially, an account of action; how it is done. For Art can do none else than to present itself.
The past custom was to describe the process of creation in terms of "life-giving" to matter, a notion not necessarily dead, once reopened to questions. Such is the need to reconsider the prevailing fantasy about complete self-containment. It is to argue with lazy concepts tempting us to trust the ostensibly undefeated power by which Form and Content are related. As if creation is the task of pouring some content originating elsewhere, out, a priory, into some template, now supported by a "self", likewise assumed to be a prior entity, who becomes the mobilizing projector of order and meanings into it, this all, finally, for to meet the appointee interpreter authorized to expose an "artistic soul"…
Vital art cannot accept such assumption because art does not transmit because it has no 'true' one meaning because it is not communication.
Metaphor (optic nerve +adjective) introduces two organs for the correspondence it wishes to establish; one compares, the other compared. The two are always conditional, based on representation, their relations are descriptive, analogous. Each metaphor is built on cognitional anthropomorphic projection: "The weather is capricious", "The mountain is sublime", The sun is merciless"… Metaphor always wears the world, domesticates it. Established on the act of uprooting everything that is instantaneous or literal, it is an act of transfer, of replication, and of displacement. In transferring fixed meanings, it is never innocent; it always furnishes the world with signs, supplying keys, assuming communication, trusting interpretation. Metaphor implies an equivalent with the postulation that the world has a meaning, and a coherence given to capture. Therefore, metaphor suggests the sure way to not reveal it at all. The metaphor is the par-excellence humanistic instrument because characteristically it appropriates everything to the man. Therefore, the answer to metaphor is to push forward the praise of the artistic tool, the devices, to denounce and convict the "natural". At least a tool is - plainly and pronounced - human. It does not make-believe to invade beyond human perception. Nature is outside the tools; hence, it is effectual and useful to expose them. Metaphor denies our limitedness with regard to the phenomenological surface of life. To identify this denial, to liberate the secret; the voiceless, opaque surface of life, necessitates the crushing of metaphor from within, whilst your tools visible and 'noisy', thus always to strive at a maximum concreteness. Thereupon instead of metaphor – a metamorphose, a mutation, prosthesis. The more artificial, the more "real".
In this sense, the retinal is not at the foundation of my work. I do not put together fragments to reconstruct a jar. Rather, I have to invent the fragments of that which will never construct even a broken jar.
I hardly think of "images". I am preoccupied with the production of a dynamic mobile net of painterly situations contrived to rebuff any "holistic" coherent interpretation. There is the expectation dynamics alone; no end target, alone the be- ready, and go…
The Chinese Vase is a small tinted drawing by Dürer, a favorite of mine. It shows a drunken sailor with a wooden leg and a walking stick, seeking balance on a wine barrel, a Chinese vase bigger than him on his head, on its top a high oil lamp, on top of which stands an owl. Of this grotesque tower, I think of as the motto of my Painting.
How will the lame drunken sailor hold all set on his head? The problem of the sailor is the luxury of the painter. Here from, a "place" like this, a place where the painter, sober and realistic, neither lame nor amputee, stable and fit on his stand, on the earth and not on a barrel, may the miracle of Painting occur; stands or falls the drunken sailor, firm or shake his tower.
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