james hillman: kinds of power

we become artists only when we enjoy the practicing as much as the performing. until then we are caught in the limelight rather than the art. it’s not the opening in the gallery that makes the painter (although it may make his or her career); it’s the repetitious actions in the studio. over and over again, not to get it finally right, not for the sake of perfection, but simply doing it as if for its own sake, freed from having to do it. the work working by itself, mechanically, repetitiously, impersonally.
suzi gablik’s book [suzi gablik: the reenchantment of art (new york: thames & hudson, 1991)] on the role of art in an ecologically concious society describes compassionate action towards things as a new mode for western art – art in service to the world. one chapter, describing an artist’s devotion to the regular cleaning of the beanks of the upper rio grande, portrays a ritual of service that is in keeping with a definition of art in its most extreme old-fashioned sense, “art for art’s sake”, but here no longer a private “creation” by a socially detached elite, separate from life and the surroundings, but in dedication to life and the surroundings. it is pure art, without compensation. it has no motive beyond the act, no program, no tendentious message – for the river cannot be cleaned by one person, if ever cleaned at all. it is rital gesture, mediative devotion and service for its own sake, unprofitable and pleasing no customer.

quoted from: james hillman: kinds of power – isbn 0-385-48967-6 – a book about power in the business world, but drawing parallels from everywhere, including these interesting thoughts regarding art.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.