With this present, and this future, how can one feel that bold artistic moves have any real energy? Conflicted feelings rule the day. Daily confusions of every stripe. Ambivalence is king. Where is the art that strikingly knows it’s own futility but stumbles forward compellingly, anyway, because as an artist you have no choice?

Jacob Wren (via jacobwren)

Tyler Malone: What is conversation to you and what is its value?

Paul Holdengräber: It’s interesting to have children in that regard because one thing you notice very early on is that conversation is how we become human. The word “infant” literally means “without the possibility of phatic expression.” We begin our lives by being spoken to and then slowly by responding. It’s what makes us come together as a kindred species. Without this dialogue, without this possibility of exchange, part of our humanity — that which makes us truly human — is lost. So for me conversation is a way of going back to that initial moment. Conversation is a giving and a taking, back and forth.

Paul Holdengräber and Tyler Malone in conversation, on the art of conversation, from Full Stop

[Tyler Malone]: One thing that Adam Phillips said in your interview that I think really applies to our conversation is, “It seems to me that digression may be the norm, the invisible norm, in conversation. Because if you believe in digression as something separate, you must believe it’s possible to be coherently focused and purposive.” I know you’re fascinated with digression …

[Paul Holdengräber]: I am. The last line of my introduction, you will remember, is another line of Adam’s, “Digression is secular revelation.” To my mind those words are so powerful and pungent. They remind me of another line I love, by Laurence Sterne, which we may have spoken about last time, about digression being the sunshine of narrative. It’s in the moments where you go off track — insofar as you believe in a track, which I don’t necessarily do — where the important things come out. That’s I think why Freud was so fascinated by jokes. It’s a moment where we go into areas we didn’t quite know we’d be going into, where we go off the beaten path. It’s in those moments that we travel, and we see something unexpected, turning our gaze to something we hadn’t planned to look at.

Paul Holdengräber and Tyler Malone in conversation, from Full Stop

Here, in my solitude, I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity. It oozes out of me like a broken tube of toothpaste; it doesn’t want to stay within the confines of my body. A strange feeling of weight and volume. Soul volume perhaps, which rises like clouds of smoke and envelops my body.

Ingmar Bergman, from Images (via violentwavesofemotion)

Perhaps we’re the same person, with no boundaries. Perhaps we flow through each other, stream through each other boundlessly and magnificently. You bear such terrible thoughts….it’s almost painful to be near you.

Fanny & Alexander (1982) dir. Ingmar Bergman (via violentwavesofemotion)

Piece in many parts
Each in itself is a complete statement,
together am not certain how it will be.
A fact, I cannot be certain yet.
Can be from illness, can be from honesty.
irregular, edges, six to seven feet long,
textures coarse, rough, changing.
see through, non see through, consistent, inconsistent,
enclosed tightly by glass like encasement just hanging there,
then more others, will they hang there in the same way?
try a continuous flowing one,
try some random closely spaced,
try some distant far spaced.
they are tight and formal but very ethereal, sensitive, fragile,
see through mostly,
not painting, not sculpture, it’s there though.
I remember I wanted to get to non art, non connotive,
non anthropomorphic, non geometric, non, nothing,
everything, but of another kind, vision, sort.
from a total other reference point. is it possible?
I have learned anything is possible. I know that,
that vision or concept will come through total risk,
freedom, discipline.
I will do it.

today, another step, on two sheets we put on the glass,
did the two differently.
one was cast-poured over hard, irregular, thick plastic;
one with screening, crumpled, they will all be different, both the rubber sheets and the fiberglass,
lengths and widths.
question how and why in putting it together?
can it be different each time? why not?
how to achieve by not achieving? how to make by not making?
it’s all in that,
it’s not the new, it is what is yet not known,
thought, seen, touched but really what is not.
and that is.

Eva Hesse, ‘Artist’s statement’, Art in Process IV (New York: Finch College, 1969); reprinted in Lucy R. Lippard, Eva Hesse (New York: New York University Press, 1976)  

(via onlycolorandlight)

I was trained to strive for exactness and to believe that rigorous knowledge of the world without any residue is possible for us. This residue, which does not exist—just to think of it refreshes me. To think of its position, how it shares its position with drenched layers of nothing, to think of its motion, how it can never stop moving because I am in motion with it, to think of its tone of voice, which is casual (in fact it forgets my existence almost immediately) but every so often betrays a sort of raw pity I don’t understand, to think of its shadow, which is cast by nothing and so has no death in it (or very little)—to think of these things is like a crack of light showing under the door of a room where I’ve been locked for years. In his tower overlooking the river Neckar, Hölderlin had a piano that he sometimes played so hard he broke the keys. But there were quiet days when he would just play and tilt back his head and sing. Those who heard said they could not tell, though they listened, what language it was.

Anne Carson, from “Variations on the Right to Remain Silent" in A Public Space, Issue 7 / 2008, also published in Nay Rather (Sylph Editions, 2013).