Where does fire come from when it’s started? Is it the same place it goes when you put it out? Or, is it that the fire was never there to begin with? Or even that the fire has and always will be burning eternally? The fire burns forever and yet it doesn’t exist. How bizarre. Take them to the land that’s pure, where words and names are experienced rather than exchanged. When a good artist paints a picture or write a sentence, they do so without worrying about convincing others of anything. A good artist isn’t selling anything and cares not the least for economics. The values agreed upon by the masses, by media, by political propaganda and the number game played in the stock exchange do not influence the artist’s pursuit and expression of his own inner truth. With money, we exchange objects of value. With words, we exchange ideas of value. With art, we create value out of nothing. Why do we so admire and standn in awe of a smiling woman painted 500 years ago? Art should always stand for itself. It shouldn’t be a symbol that merely points to something else more important. The Mona Lisa is now a symbol that freely circulates through our media-saturated culture. it is no longer “merely” itself. As soon as art is understood it becomes artifact. it becomes initiated into the mind as another unit of culture, as a meme. It becomes eternal (at least in our minds) when we name it and make a symbol of it. Art can only be experienced now, in the present, as something spontaneous and unexpected. Art is ineffable because the self who creates it is ineffable. Art displays the inside on the otuside, but the image is fragile, not only to decay but to time itself. As time passes, the work’s image is highjacked by the social mind and its meaning is commoditized. By who? By us. By our desire to control ourselves and one another. We carve up mental territory and try to sell it to one another in order to convince ourselves that we can really own something.
Originally posted Nov. 26th, 2006