He began to wonder whether we could ever make psychology so absolute a science that each little spring of life would be revealed to us. As it was, we always misunderstood ourselves, and rarely understood others. Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes. Moralists had, as a rule, regarded it as a mode of warning, had claimed for it a certain ethical efficacy in the formation of character, had praised it as something that taught us what to follow and showed us what to avoid. But there was no motive power in experience. It was a little of an active cause as conscience itself. All that it really demonstrated was that our future would be the same as our past, and that the sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy.
- THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde. page 68 Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd. January 1916
art is a privilege, a blessing, a relief. privilege means that you are a favorite, that what you do is not completely to your credit, not completely due to you, but is a favor conferred upon you. privilege entitles you when you deserve nothing. privilege is something you have and others don't. Art was a privilege given to me, and i had to pursue it, even more than the privilege of having kids.
The whole art mechanism is the result of many privileges, and it was a privilege to be apart of it... The privilege was the access to the unconscious. It is a fantastic privilege to have access to the unconscious. I had to be worthy of this privilege, and to exercise it. It was a privilege also to be able to sublimate. A lot of people can not sublimate. They have no access to their unconscious. There is something very special in being able to sublimate your unconscious, and something very painful in the access to it. But there is no escape from it, and no escape from access once it is given to you, once you are favored with it, whether you want it or not.
To escape you have to have a a place to go. You have to have the courage to face risk. You have to have independence. All these things are gifts. They are blessings... Sublimation is a gift; lots of people cannot sublimate.
The life of the artist is basically a denial of sex.
I really think my power of sublimation, my power of total recall, is due to the education my parents gave me - the discipline and also the notion of what you can expect. My feminism expresses itself in an interest in what women do. But I'm a complete loner. It doesn't help me to associate with people; it really doesn't help me. What helps me is to realize my own disabilities and to expose them. Another very sad statement is that I truly like only the people who help me. It is a very, very sad statement. I am not interested in art history.
In the academics of styles, a succession of fads.
Art is not about art.
Art is about life, and that sums it up. This remark is made to the whole academy of artists who have attempted to derive the art of the late 1980s, to try to relate it to the study of the history of art, which has nothing to do with art.
It has to do with appropriation.
It has to do with the attempt to prove that you can do better than the next one, and that a famous art history teacher is better that the common artist. If you are a historian, you have to have the dignity of a historian. You dont have to prove that you are better that the artist. What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach.
This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself. This is why modern art will continue, because this condition remains: it is the modern condition. It is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it.
It is about trying to be sane in this situation, of being tentatively and temporarily sane by expressing yourself. All art comes from terrific failures and terrific needs that we have. It is about the difficulty of being a self because one is neglected. Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. Art is a way of recognizing oneself. which is why it will always be modern.
- Louise Bourgeois, 1988. Mario typed this to me through gmail chat tonight.