The Crossing, video/sound installation by Bill Viola (Photo: Kira Perov)
One of the added pleasures of the MOCA Los Angeles show (reference to this is in the blog below) was the quotes from artists that accompanied their works. Many are worth sharing and are compelling even without the specific context of the work on display.
Here’s a sampling:
When I paint, I liberate monsters. They are the manifestations of all the doubts, searches and gropings for meaning and expression which all artists experience. One does not choose the content, one submits to it.
I never violate an inner rhythm. I loathe to force anything. I don’t know if the inner rhythm is Eastern or Western. I know it is essential for me. I listen to it and I stay with it. I have always been this way. I have regard for the inner voice.
My work is non-objective. But I want people, when they look at my paintings, to have the same feelings they experience when they look at landscape, so I never protest when they say my work is like landscape. But it’s really about the feeling of beauty and freedom that you experience in landscape.
The rational mind constantly wants to be in charge. The other parts want to fly. My painting is the encounter between the minds’s necessity for control and its yearning to fly, to be free from our ever-confining skill.
I am not trying to illustrate religion. I’m a storyteller with a broken history.
The most basic thing to say about painting: it’s a limiting condition within which absolutely anything goes. But it’s a negative premise. It’s not, “I like painting because it’s so wonderful—it can do all these wonderful things.” It’s more, “I like painting because it’s so limited, it’s so uptight, so old and so flat and so rectilinear.” Within that, you’re good to go.
I believe that art us socially useful. If it is destructive, it is constructively so. What helps some hurts others—all art is not made for the same audience. We are in a very restrictive period where many think it is necessary to narrow the limits of what is allowable, to set up unitary reality and condemn the idea of multiple “realities”. I support an art of multiplicity, which is why I am an “anti-classical” artist. In fact, I like to think that I make my work primarily for those who dislike it. I get pleasure from that idea.
I prefer to consider the painting as a thing in the world than the painting as a picture of things in the world.
I do not distinguish between the inner and outer landscapes, between the environment at the physical world out there (the “hard” stuff). It is the tension, the transition, the exchange, and the resonance between these two modalities that energize and define our reality.