what cinque said
Post #296 • June 10, 2004, 6:53 AM • 5 Comments
I want art that talks about love without putting quotes around it all the time. Or about anger, or the fucked up state of the world, or beauty, or whatever, from a real and sincere place. I'm exhausted. I want art that opens the door to me, that doesn't coyly dodge me whenever I try to encounter it. I want art that's about the world, not just about the artist. I know that's a nebulous description, but it's a true one.
It's nebulous, all right, because when you operate by feeling - the realm in which art is supposed to operate - you can only go by indescribable instincts, not by rules, not by rote.
The only thing I have found that comes close as an analogous process is koan practice in Zen, in which the student is asked to demonstrate his understanding of an insoluable problem. What was your face before your parents were born? Your intellectual answers will be rejected. So will your philisophical answers, your clever answers, your theoretical answers, answers that you're not sure about but sound cool, your feeble attempts at knowing inscrutability, all of them will be tossed out. But if you concentrate, do the hard work on yourself, and are able to pull an answer out of your real being, sincere, essential, primordial, and intimate with life, that may be accepted.
Art can do that, which is why many Zen monks painted, wrote calligraphy, played the flute, and composed poetry. But also on other continents at other times, life demanded expression and found its form in art. That's what I want. Art may amuse me or annoy me or entertain me, but what I want most from art is life.
Consider this: art is either aesthetic or anaesthetic. Either it brings more feeling or more numbness. Only a diseased, injured organism craves numbness; a healthy one wants more feeling.
More life. Not more cleverness, not more theories, not the noisy flight from reality that characterizes much of modern civilization. More life. Many other things are possible, but nothing else will do.