Background Noise.

18th October 2011

Post with 22 notes

“Eclecticism panders to the habits of magazine readers, to the needs of consumers of standard industrial imagery, to the sensibility of the supermarket shopper. That kind of post-Modernism, to the extent that it exerts&endash;by means of critics, curators, gallery directors, and collectors&endash;intense pressure on artists, aligns pictorial inquiry to the current state of ‘culture,’ and strips artists of their responsibility to the question of the nondemonstrable. That question is, to me, the only one worthy of life’s high stakes, and of the world of thought in the coming century. Any denial of that question is a menace&endash;and one that cannot be ignored, as it threatens to relax the tension between the act of painting and the essence of painting, when it is that very tension which stimulated one of the most heroic centuries of Western painting. This menace implies the corruption of painting’s honor&endash;which thus far has remained intact in spite of the worst temptations of the state and of the market. The governing principle of the postindustrial techno — scientific world is not the need to represent the representable, but rather the opposite principle. To turn away from this principle&endash;that infinity is inherent in the very dialectic of search&endash;is absurd, impractical, and reactionary. It is not up to the artist to reinstate a make — believe ‘reality’ which the drive toward knowledge, technology, and wealth will continually destroy in order to replace it with a version considered more viable — and which itself will eventually be replaced. The spirit of the times is surely not that of the merely pleasant: its mission remains that of the immanent sublime, that of alluding to the nondemonstrable. It goes without saying that such a mission causes anguish, but painters are not subject to the question, ‘How can we avoid anguish?’ They are subject to the question, ‘What is painting?’ In addition, they are also subject to the question, ‘How do we communicate our painting to those who are not painters?’ — but this does not mean that the two roles are to be confused. To confuse them would be comparable to the philosopher confusing responsibility to thought with responsibility to the public. The responsibility of communicating the meaning of thoughts and paintings belongs to the intellectual. In fact, the question, ‘What is thought?’ places the philosopher in an avant — garde position. That is why he dares speak of painters, his brothers and sisters in experimentation.” -J.F. Lyotard

Tagged: Avant gardelyotardphilosophy

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