Monday, June 22, 2015

Invitation to adventure

Graphic created by Judith Parsons
Excerpt from Paul and Ester Jenkins, eds., Observations of Michel Tapi'e
(New York: George Wittenborn, 1956) 15-16. By permission
of Paul Jenkins
The words jumped from the book beside my bed. I let the words speak for themselves.

You know how I feel about this:
Art reflects life- life reflects art:


Michel Tapie’ 
AN Other Art (1952)

Everything has been called into question once more since the cascade of revolution going from Impressionism to Dada and Surrealism: we are beginning to realize what that means, and at which point this total review has caused the epoch in which we live to be especially thrilling. 

After centuries, if not a millennium, during which conditions evolved so slowly that in the normal rhythm of life, chance could not be perceived, and in which artistic problems (even ethnic-aesthetic ones) were safe,…and entire system of certainty has collapsed. The ossified and ossifying false order made room for the more fertile and intoxicating anarchy, which in its heightened fits if enthusiasm marches toward a new order, a new system of idea about the range of our potential becoming. It is, after all, shocking to know one is going to the unknown (it must always be like this for the creators, but it has never been so explicitly evident), and at this point we still find St. John of the Cross to give us the most pertinent advice: “ In order to go to a place where you have not been, you must take an unfamiliar route.” The academy has died, has it not?

The problems do not  consist of replacing  a figurative theme with an absence of theme, which is called abstract, non-figurative or non-objective, but really to create a work, with or without a theme, in front of which—be its aggressiveness, banality or sheer physical contact— one perceives gradually that one’s customary hold on the situations been lost, one is…called to enter [into either] ecstasy or madness for one’s traditional criteria, one after the other, have been abandoned. Nevertheless such a work carries with it an invitation to adventure—in the true sense of the word “adventure”—that is to say something not known, where it is really impossible to predict how things will go, where it will be the spectator who is left to move to the next station which may be of infinitesimal or astounding violence…

* Michel Tapi’e, excerpt from Paul and Esther Jenkins, meds., Observations of Michel Tapi’e (New York: George Wittenborn, 1956), 15-16. By permission of Paul Jenkins.

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