Life’s a Picnic
Coherent existence is precarious, indeed…
Notes from the art underground: “Unthought known” (Bollas not Vedder); unconscious, subconscious, pre-conscious, whatever. Freud said (maybe, just a thought, giving credit where it may not be due): [art is] “the language of desire.” It is a kind of semi-private yet semi-cultural language. It is something else besides (and originating before, personally and historically) the socially sanctioned signified/signifier stuff.
My selfness—yours, too, I believe—is/are connected to culture as much as creature. Selfness as artist and not. It is learned from experience as well as being a given. Selfness is a bundle of experience that both body and society affect, but neither wholly excludes the other. Those who deny this are–pardon my oxymoron—intellectualizing fools, be they of either the watsonian/skinnerian or lacanian flavor.
The drawing here shows separates worlds that overlap, a studio (self, artist) and outdoors; a couple (body, the others) and a dry-stone wall (culture, the Other). And self is split too, canvas and easel which are joined conventionally in one’s mind and one’s physical and social worlds, here are not. Is this split, neither the canvas nor the easel, the unsymbolizable unthought known? Maybe.
Is the couple a unsymbolizable unthought known, too? The she is a ‘body,’ metonym for the feminine/nature and the he, a “suit,” metaphor for the masculine/culture. Then the canvas, the symbol (icon?) for art, separates and joins them. The easel stands aloof and watches. Does art inserts itself into their lives or does it only observe? Is art more culture and nature’s greedy child or their secretive voyeur?
“A dream is a short-lasting psychosis, and a psychosis is a long-lasting dream.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer.
All gray, cloudy skied twilight, when hypnagogia fools the censor. But what fools the censer? What willfulness suspends disbelief? Art? Art perhaps. Art is neither dream nor myth, the artist neither madman nor mystic, both are both.
All apart, one from another. Art, and artist, from life. Or worlds all tangled up where nothing is simple, where stepping back is the only way to see, to understand, to cope?
… but stumble on, we must.