A flower painting by Van Gogh that has another painting, of wrestlers, concealed under it.
Mat Collishaw, Catching fairies, 1996
I find it curious that we so often record and document things going on around us. It seems we can’t quite appreciate the existence of something unless we can capture and preserve it.
Catching fairies was meant as an allegorical expression of this thought.
In the images, I stand to my thighs in muddy water vainly attempting to capture fairies in a fishing net. These beings by definition are ephemeral, which makes my pursuit futile and absurd: to capture them would be to destroy them.
"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again."
"The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day."
"what do we do to promote real knowledge in a world where reality is something that more and more people wish to avoid?"
"Ya podía leer. Ya se enteraba de lo que leía. Pero lo esencial en la lectura de una novela -es decir, el interesarse con sensaciones o emociones reales en imaginarias vidas ajenas- se le hacía insoportable, por estar en pugna con su íntima necesidad de vivir por su propia cuenta. ¿Que la protagonista de la novela cuidaba a un enfermo? Pues Ana se veía a sí misma como enfermera en funciones. ¿Que montaba a caballo y realizaba un acto de audacia? Pues Ana sentía un vivísimo deseo de correr a caballo y saltar setos y barreras de altura fantástica. En vez de esto, allí tenía que estarse, tranquila y quieta, volviendo poco a poco las hojas del libro."
León Tolstói, Ana Karenina, 1873-1877
"(…) No le gustaba el mar sino por sus tempestades y el verdor sólo cuando aparecía salpicado entre ruinas. Necesitaba sacar de las cosas una especie de provecho personal; y rechazaba como inútil todo lo que no contribuía al consuelo inmediato de su corazón, pues, siendo de temperamento más sentimental que artístico, buscaba emociones y no paisajes."
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, 1856
"Art is not an object, but a trigger for experience. Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences (Roy Ascott’s phrase). That solves a lot of problems: we don’t have to argue about whether photographs are art, or whether performances are art, or whether Carl Andre’s bricks or Andres Serranos’s piss or little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ are art, because we say, ‘Art is something that happens, a process, not a quality, and all sorts of things can make it happen.’ (…_ Suppose you redescribe the job ‘artist’ as ‘a person who creates situations in which you can have art experiences’."
B: Do you feel you’ve ever had to sacrifice your quality of work/artistic integrity because of a client request?
MM: Yes, of course. But that’s how you learn. Sometimes you wonder why the client asked you in the first place if they totally don’t “use” what you are good at. That makes you realize how people interpret your work and what they see in it, what they expect from it. You quickly learn how to read their minds. And the earlier you see what they are “after” the better you can decide to do the job or not. I always ask a client beforehand why they thought of me for the job, and try to dissect their answer. If you listen well, you usually know up front what you are getting into.
"A middle class fortress in which to hide!
Draw down the curtain as if saying No,
While noon’s ablaze, ablaze outside.
And outside people work and sweat
And the day clings by and the hard day ends.
And after you doze brush out your hair
And walk like a marmoset to and fro
And look in the mirror at middle-age
And sit and regard yourself stare and stare
And hate your life and your tiresome friends
And last night’s bridge where you went in debt;
While all around you gathers the rage
Of cheated people
Will we hear your fret
In the rising noise of the streets? Oh no!"
Genevieve Taggard, Interior, 1935
Published in Proletarian Literature in the United States