Pearls from artists* # 320October 3, 2018
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
As soon as I use words and actions to convey an emotion, I engage with the world, pitting my feelings against fate in hopes of a desired outcome. If I am angry, my anger is directed at someone or something. If I am in love, my love is for another. Feelings are purposive in ordinary reality, our emotional states tangled in the processes of life. This is what we mean when we refer to ourselves as subjects. But if, instead of acting on a feeling, I make it the basis of a song or a film or a dance, something strange happens. My purposive feeling leaves the closed circle of my personal existence, almost as though I had taken it out of historical time altogether. Transposed into the work of art, it becomes nonpurposive, undirected. It disassociates from its original focus, and from my self as subject, acquires a kind of autonomy. Artistic creation allows for the subjective aspect of our lives normally locked inside our skulls to exist outside us, which is to say that in art, the subjective becomes objective.
J.F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
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