Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Jean-Paul Riopelle (Canadian, 1923-2002)
The Wheel – Cold Dog (Indian Summer)
1954-1955. Oil on Canvas

The artwork of Jean-Paul Riopelle:

"He begins at the beginning. And each time he begins, it is as if he had never lived before. Painting: or the desire to vanish in the act of seeing. That is to say, to see the thing that is... as if it were the last time that he would ever see."

"To breathe in the whiteness of the farthest north. And all that is lost, to be born again from this emptiness in the place where desire carries him, and dismembers him, and scatters him back to earth."

"A forest. And within that forest, a tree. And upon that tree, a leaf. A single leaf, turning in the wind. This leaf, and nothing else. The thing to be seen."

"When a single leaf turns, it is the entire forest that turns around it. And he who turns around himself."

The poems of Reverdy:

"The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is both distant and true, the stronger the image will be -- the greater its emotional power and poetic reality." [my accompanying note in the margin: I just drew an image representing this exact thing!]

Poet Francis Ponge:

"The primary act of the poet, therefore, becomes the act of seeing, as if no one had ever seen the thing before, so that the object might have 'the good fortune to be born into words.'"

High-wire artist Philippe Petit: "...the high-wire is an art of solitude, a way of coming to grips with one's life in the darkest, most secret corner of the self."

"... life does not hide from death, but stares it straight in the face. Each time he sets foot on the wire, Philippe takes hold of that life and lives it in all its exhilarating immediacy, in all its joy."

Self: "... When you truly enter a state of solitude, that is the moment when you are not alone anymore, when you start to feel your connection with others... I even quote Rimbaud... 'Je est un autre'
[I is another]"

"The whole process... is one of stripping away to some barer condition in which we have to face up to who we are. Or who we aren't. It finally comes to the same thing."

"Writing is no longer an act of free will for me, it's a matter of survival. An image surges up inside me, and after a time I begin to feel cornered by it, to feel that I have no choice but to embrace it. A book starts to take shape after a series of such encounters."

All quotes - Paul Auster, The Art of Hunger

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