To talk about art — or about anything at all — is to put the subject in danger.
To talk about painting, about a painter, or even about paint itself is to put shackles on it; is to try to define it and minimize it. Yes, the human race has this urge to explain everything since, well, ever. Science, religion… No matter what path you choose — all of them offer you a neat-bitty-wrapped-in-a-red-bow explanation for everything that happens.
How’s the Earth formed, why are the dinosaurs extinct, why oil and water don’t mix, or even what does a goat head on a Rauschenberg piece mean. Paraphrasing Susan Sontag’s appeal to ban interpretation, I’m an advocate to ban explanation.
The ‘why’s’ are way more interesting than the answers. To let a kid imagine where babies come from (the stork, the birds, and the bees, the flowers) is way more enriching than saying ‘daddy puts his pipi in mom’s vajayjay.’ How does that help us in any way? [Yes, you antagonist you, ‘that avoids teen pregnancy blablabla’ — but shall we think more lyrically, please]
Without these fleets of imagination, without those colorful figures of speech, what do we have? A boring, dull, black and white world, with neo-nazi-scientific-freaks who don’t allow anyone to dream anymore. What do I care if bodies are made of tiny atoms and molecules? I want to think about us being born out of Jell-O; about the clouds being made of popcorn or any other food-world analogy.
Answers are way overrated. Answers cripple creativity, the power of imagination. Who cares who came first — the egg or the chicken? How does that make your life any more interesting? Not knowing does. It adds mystery; it adds the freaking magic.
Don’t explain to me how images play on my television; why Sylvia Plath wrote the poems, she wrote — and don’t dare tell me how Pollock or Monet did his paintings. I don’t want to know that. I just want to be delighted, amused, dumbstruck. To appreciate it for what it is. Not trying to find the schemes behind it; not saying ‘that’s easy to do, I could do that.’
Don’t give me the truth; give me magic.
*yes, I do notice the irony of this text, being that I wrote a bunch of other stuff about art. still.