1. Art is the only magic I know.
  2. Reality: when you see things as they are. Magic: when you see things as they should be -- the natural order appears.
  3. When you are inspired don't try to figure it out. All you will achieve is the death of your inspiration. The little man inside cannot observe himself. You must accept doing what you know, even if you don't know how you know.
  4. If you try to perceive the invisible hand, you destroy it.
  5. I don't try to find my style; I try not to impede the style from finding me.
  6. Great things are never made, only discovered. The creator is a visionary rather than a builder.
  7. I don't try to create a parallel world, I only follow the pathway which already exists. The visionary identifies himself with the pathway to the extent that he dissolves his ego in it.
  8. Creating, we are not lighting the lamp but following the light.
  9. The brief glance judges. The sustained regard defines. If it tries to judge, chances are it judges wrongly. That is because the sustained regard quickly tires and can only transmit false data to the brain.
  10. We have to look for the direct goal. The indirect one -- the most important -- comes by itself, by intuition. Many artists revolt against this attitude of ignorance and humility, and abstract art is one of the forms this revolt takes.
  11. Often shadows are more interesting than what cast them.
  12. The role of the 'indirect': you paint white, having blue in your heart.
  13. The perfect assemblage of ungracious elements: a certain 'masculine' beauty.
  14. The essential for an artist is not how one object is situated in relation to another, but how it 'burns' in relation to the other.
  15. We paint what we see, not what we know because art is first of all a sensory not an intellectual experience. In intellectual art -- abstraction, cubism, etc. -- art is not host but guest.
  16. When we paint an object, we paint what we see and not what we know, because knowledge of the object is not visual, but reasoned.
  17. Nature never repeats itself. The one who portrays nature is the only one who has a chance at originality.
  18. If possible, take nothing away. Assimilate the mistakes. Start from the principle that each element on the canvas brings an enrichment sent by chance.
  19. What strikes the spectator is not necessarily what struck the creator. They react on two levels; the artist to his subject, the spectator to the artist.
  20. Man without inspiration looks into the mirror like a vampire, without reflection.
  21. The human should always create at his own level; great if he is great, mediocre if he is mediocre; but consistently, not interrupting the current which is one with the current of life.
  22. On fertile ground, something organized may grow from chaos. If the ground is even more favorable, this something will grow to the grandiose dimension of the original chaos.
  23. You should never force your eyes to see something because sight doesn't have its own energy; it is basically a passive transmitter.
  24. Form is what I see. Content is me. The form we see -- portrait, landscape, still life -- is only a pretext. Line, shape and colour, are the artist's true content, expressing his personality.
  25. Listening to music I immerse myself in a flood of sound. Contemplating paintings, I see the universe of a more beautiful planet.
  26. Mediaeval and baroque music don't attempt to translate sentiments (as Romantic music does) nor to do cerebral algebra (as modern music does), they are the only ones to liberate transcendental feelings in us.
  27. When some special effect appears, don't force it. Sufficient that it brushes us with its wings.
  28. The sun doesn't care where its rays fall, the current of the stream is oblivious to whatever it carries. Profligacy, not economy, is the trademark of creativity.
  29. You may look for 'rebirth' but routine will follow you anyway.
  30. Reason makes global plans; inspiration makes small jumps.
  31. One must always consider that the work already exists behind a screen which must be removed.
  32. Thinking is always looking backward. Pure thought is not creative. Creativity means going forward, finding something we didn't expect.
  33. The work under my hand becomes a work of art when it starts to speak to me in a language I didn't know before but which I understand.
  34. The work of art becomes authentic when it stops being 'mine' and belongs to itself; when it stops being artifact and becomes a guide.
  35. When we create, we absorb something from outside that makes us bigger.
    When we judge, we excrete something we already know.
    When we confound the act of creation with the act of judgement, we poison ourselves with our own excretions.

  36. The left and right brain are like a man with a dog. To create, the man must let himself be guided by the dog.
  37. Left and right brain: the left is the link between the individual and exterior reality while the right brain represents contact with interior reality which is inaccessible to the five senses. The creator is the point of encounter between the two realities. As reasoning is the product of the left brain, 50 percent of the creative drive and act remain forever beyond the frontiers of understanding.
  38. In creativity it is impossible to draw the line between the impression and the concept. What is the letter "A"? Concept and graphic simultaneously. If you want to create art, write "A" just as it comes from your balls -- don't do calligraphy.
  39. Art is a lady who dispenses favours and escapes intimacy.
  40. When one sperm succeeds among millions in reaching the egg, it's only the beginning of trouble. Now it's you who must succeed. As an analogy: talent = sperm, effort = you.
  41. Homage to El Greco
    In the light you see what is. In darkness -- what should be.
  42. A propos my Show 'Mirrors & Windows'
    For Lewis Carroll, the mirror is a magic door where the objects sink into an interior third dimension. The reflected universe is an interior liberation, brother of dreams and nostalgias. The window is a painting already done and framed; a promise of "grass greener on the other side of the fence."
  43. Architecture: music that stands still.
  44. My favourite architecture is Romanesque with its sober, silent tale. Came Gothic -- flamboyant, imposing -- like neon after the torch, approaching kitsch.
  45. The art of writing transcends other forms of creativity which speak the language of the senses (servants). Only writing speaks the language of the brain (the master). The 'master' is more exigent than the servants. An artist, when he feels ready, can start work in solitude. The writer needs constant dialogue and a challenge in order to feed his thought and his inspiration.
  46. All that we cannot point a finger at is art.
  47. Art is art only if something unexpected comes out. Otherwise it is recapitulation.
  48. Excellence is nothing other than authenticity.
  49. The goal of the creator: join reality where reality joins mystery.
  50. I am impatient, easily bored, but seldom during long sessions of painting. I take a promenade with phantoms into their world of enchantments.
  51. The creative person doesn't judge -- he acts. Judgement belongs to the critic who follows in his tracks.
  52. Great work: dialogue between the left and right brains.
    Mediocre work: conflict between them.
  53. The left brain feeds on the external world and the right brain, the creative one, connects this information to the psychosomatic side of the creator. The right brain doesn't reason; it is a secretive bridge between exterior reality and the interior reality of our bodies. Creativity remains outside of the realm of understanding.
  54. To create means to take an object at your level, and use it to achieve something that makes you bigger.
  55. Creativity feeds on limits. Only void is limitless.
  56. One must work in a state of mental detachment, as in a dream. If on awakening one marvels -- so much the better.
  57. The work of art is finished when it announces itself as a first entity, a totality, and no formula permits you to atomize it into parts. The creator feels this as accomplishment, peace, 'warrior's rest.'
  58. The newborn and the creator absorb reality and react to it.
  59. Painting is an escape from the empty canvas.
  60. Painting can be compared to target shooting; there is no direct control over the trajectory.
  61. The greatest mystery in painting is that there is no relationship between cause and effect. The artist's perception is not linear, but total; revelation sudden, en bloc - like a quantum leap.
  62. The attention of the artist is always floating; it is a dynamic eye moving over the terrain of action. Only the spectator can afford the static, critical eye. The creator's attention must keep pace with his constantly changing impressions.
  63. Wrong affirmation has more creative potential than right negation.
  64. Good painting is like good sewing; you don't see the stitches. By stitches I mean intentions. Good painting does not use special effects to impress the viewer.
  65. The thing in itself has no importance; the world it reflects is important.
  66. In painting the instant of contact is very short (for the artist); the final effect is overpowering (for both artist and viewer); and the analysis is tedious (for the critic).
  67. Good work contains elements which unify and distinguish simultaneously.
  68. Colours and lights have value by virtue of their mutual relationship. The only way to paint light is to forget that it is light, translating it into colour. Yet different colours are nothing but different lights.
  69. To see the object, one must forget the sense of the object.
  70. The light is not only what permits us to see; it is also what we see.
  71. Creativity stimulates the body as much as the spirit. The French painter Le Brun (16-17th century) described the intimate connection between creativity and the body (quoted from memory): In the passion of painting . . . one has a warm feeling in the chest. The heart beats slowly and regularly. The digestion goes easier . . . So, this passion is good for health.
  72. Voltaire said: "If you want to say something stupid -- sing it." How could we explain the existence of the aesthetic sense if it weren't a part of some organic schema, an instinct useful to our body?
  73. In the nuance is the light and in the contrast is the shape.
  74. The artist creates halfway and the rest follows.
  75. Only the spectator can afford to be philosophical. The creator is concrete.
  76. In the final stage the painting plays the tune and your brush strokes are the dancing steps.

    Medium and Creator

  77. There are two kinds of visionary: the one who transcends time and space is a medium and the one who penetrates immediate reality is a creative person.
  78. The medium transcends himself. The creative person remains constantly bound to himself.
  79. Medium: practical, faces the world. Creative person: faces himself and makes others face themselves.
  80. The medium in a trance is unconscious; the creator remains constantly awake and focused on himself.

    Craft and Art

  81. Art: the witchcraft of craft.
  82. The craftsman makes objects, the artist makes ghosts; the tree in my picture will be not tree, but apparition.
  83. Art and poetry teach that there are no laws. Crafts teach that there are plenty of laws, and it's better to stick to them.
  84. Art and poetry make you renew yourself constantly. Craft makes you repeat yourself constantly. Those contradictory qualities must inhabit the creator.
  85. Craft precedes art; it lights the candle without which vision is impossible. The candle precedes the sacred fire.
  86. The craftsman knows the object of his craft and the way to reach it, step by step. The creator, however, acts in a state of continuous surprise. The goal and the road leading to it appear by revelation and never simultaneously. We cannot perceive the senses and the mind simultaneously; human limitations are such that we can act only as a transmitter or receiver but never both at once.
  87. The craftsman obeys the rules of matter. The creator's revelation follows its own rules. For the craftsman the road and the goal are directly linked and rooted in his memory. For the creator the road and the goal lead quite independent existences and he can envision only one at a time. This is because the creator doesn't create an object, he uses an object as a support for his creativity, a pretext. He follows the pathways of his inspiration for which the notions of goal and road are irrelevant.
  88. The driving force of all creativity is pleasure. We cannot perceive sensorial and cerebral pleasures simultaneously. If put together, they eliminate each other. An illustration of the situation when the road supersedes the goal: the artist is too absorbed by his immediate pleasures in placing colour on the canvas or paper to envision his goal. At the finishing stage, the goal appears naturally and the pleasure it brings has nothing to do with the previous pleasure of the act of creation. It is sentiment of revelation: 'Did I do that?' An illustration of the goal superseding the road: the vision of the 'goal' appears first as a picture within the mind. Then there is no time for the creator to enjoy the road; too busy to keep the vision alive, he works as in a trance. He isn't really aware of what he is doing and when the vision finally materializes he doesn't remember what he did nor how he did it. That's why the fruit of art, unlike the fruit of craft, never repeats itself.
  89. Both ways of creativity -- consciousness of way without the consciousness of goal and vice versa -- show that there is no direct connection between the road and the goal. It is more a matter of a leap from one state to another. The sequence of one leading one to another belongs to craft.


  90. The unexplained invites formula.
  91. Formula means to find an unexplainable answer to an incomprehensible question.
  92. Formula means to find the laws that rule things.
  93. Formula is what makes science and magic work.
  94. In the state of happiness, we become like a work of art, existing within ourselves, for ourselves, liberated from formula.

Continues in next issue

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