melting & burning

January 1, 2014, 7:52 pm
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…the external world is reborn upon his paper, natural and more than natural, beautiful and more than beautiful, strange and endowed with an impulsive life like the soul of its creator. The phantasmagoria has been distilled from nature.

–Baudelaire, “The painter of modern life” (1860)


January 1, 2014, 7:42 pm
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If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude which is its natural ally. It is time, then, for it to return to its true duty, which is to be the servant of the sciences and arts— but the very humble servant, like printing or shorthand, which have neither created nor supplemented literature. Let it hasten to enrich the tourist’s album and restore to his eye the precision which his memory may lack; let it adorn the naturalist’s library, and enlarge microscopic animals; let it even provide information to corroborate the astronomer’s hypotheses; in short, let it be the secre­tary and clerk of whoever needs an absolute factual exac­titude in his profession—up to that point nothing could be better. Let it rescue from oblivion those tumbling ruins, those books, prints and manuscripts which time is devouring, precious things whose form is dissolving and which demand a place in the archives of our memory—— it will be thanked and applauded. But if it be allowed to encroach upon the domain of the impalpable and the imaginary, upon anything whose value depends solely upon the addition of something of a man’s soul, then it will be so much the worse for us!


revelation, not representation
January 1, 2014, 5:22 pm
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From Pavel Florensky, Beyond Vision: Essays on the Perception of Art

“Works of art differ from each other not because some are symbolic and others are ostensibly naturalistic, but because, since all are equally non-naturalistic, they are symbols of various aspects of an object, of various world perceptions, various levels of synthesis. Different methods of representation differ from each other, not as the object differs from its representation, but on the symbolic plane.”


“the task of painting is not to duplicate reality, but to give the most profound penetration of its architectonics, of its material, of its meaning.”


“He is an observer who brings nothing of his own to the world, who cannot even synthesize his own fragmentary impressions; who, since he does not enter into a living interaction with the world (…) is not aware of his own reality either, although in his proud seclusion from the world he imagines himself to be the last instance. Yet on the basis of his own furtive experience he constructs all of reality, all of it, on the pretext of objectivity, squeezing it into what he has observed of reality’s own differential.”


Excerpts taken from this essay by Aaron Tugendhaft