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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Asger Jorn

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Intimate Banalities
1948 - Movements


If we are to try to understand the situation of art today, we must try to understand the conditions that determined the evolution of our artistic intuition and our notion of the relationship between man and society. The artist actively participates in the struggle to deepen what knowledge we have of the vital undercurrent that makes artistic creation possible. The artist's zone of interest, however, does not allow itself to be limited to this area alone. He must seek the ultimate awakening in everything and in the details of everything. Nothing is sacred for him, for everything has become important to him.

In no way can a choice be involved, but rather it is a question of penetrating the entire cosmic system of laws that govern the rhythms, the energies, and the substance that make up the world's reality, from the ugliest to the most beautiful, everything that has a character and an expression, whether it be the coarsest and most brutal or the finest and most tender thing, everything that cries out to us, for this is life itself.

And in order to express everything, we must know everything.

The esthetic principle must be abolished. We are not disillusioned, because we have no illusions. We never had any.

What we possess, and what represents our strength, is that life makes us rejoice, that life in all its amoral aspects arouses our interest. And that is also what represents the foundation of art today. We do not even know the laws of esthetics, and the old idea of choice according to the principle of beautiful and ugly, in keeping with what is ethically noble or blameworthy, is dead for us, us for whom beautiful is also ugly, for whom everything that is ugly also has beauty in it . . .

There is no such thing as different styles, and there never was. Style is the expression of a bourgeois content, and its various nuances are what we call taste.

The rigid distinction between sculpture and painting does not exist. We cannot isolate any kind of artistic expression on the basis of its form, for there are only different means put to use for a common artistic goal. Sandpaper and absorbent cotton are forms of expression that are every bit as noble and every bit as usable as oil painting and marble.

Asger Jorn, Helhesten, May 1941

[An Excerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 455]




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