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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Understanding Art

Werner Herzog posed the question whether we can understand the artist across the abyss of time.

I suppose one might add a chasm of distance to that abyss, but time is more infiniter than distance could ever be.

I do not think the experience of Art leads to understanding of the artist; I think it leads to understanding oneself as a participant in the intelligent life: in sharing the intelligence of a being who fabricates an unusual and complex semaphore of their experience in the midst of creation, while the rest of us stand mute - or, at best, repeat the maxims and adages we learned at our elders' knees.

We do not wish to understand the artist; we desire to comprehend ourselves.
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4 comments:

Ruth said...

Well said.

Montag said...

I mean, why in heavens would anyone want to understand the artist? Isn't the work of art enough?

Does gossip about Michelangelo change it for me one whit? It's nice to have some background and history, but it doesn't change the impact of Botticelli's Venus.

Tom Schott said...

Perfect, Paul. We do not wish to understand the artist; we desire to comprehend ourselves. Wonderful.

Montag said...

All this useless information detracts from the Art...

and it detracts from our goal of self-comprehension.