Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quote of the Day (Rebecca West, on Art as the ‘Re-living of Experience')

“What is art? It is not decoration. It is the re-living of experience. The artist says ‘I will make that event happen again, altering its shape, which was disfigured by its contacts with other events, so that its true significance is revealed’; and his audiences says, ‘We will let that event happen again by looking at this man’s picture or house, listening to his music or reading his book.’ It must not be copied, it must be remembered, it must be lived again, passing through those parts of the mind which are actively engaged in life, which bleed when they are wounded and give forth the bland emulsions of joy, while at the same time it is being examined by those parts of the mind which stand apart from life. At the end of this process the roots of experience are traced; the alchemy by which they make a flower of joy or pain is, so far as is possible to our brutishness, detected. What is understood is mastered. If art could investigate all experiences then man would understand the whole of life, and could control his destiny....

“But such deliverance will not come soon, for art is a most uncertain instrument.”-- Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941)

(Photograph of Rebecca West by Madame Yevonde.)

No comments: