Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

Art is longing. You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.

Anselm Kiefer

It seems to me that if Anselm Kiefer feels as if he has never arrived then its probably OK for the likes of me to still be longing to.

Three simple words - Art is longing - encapsulate so much of the sense, the feeling, the experience of art.  They hint at the eternal quest, the pilgrimage, the seeking out of perfection or truth or beauty.  They make it very much a personal journey not a destination.

The longing is so real - that feeling inside which so wants to create or express the moment, the sense of something in perfect poetry, or with simple elegance, or for others, with a loud and exciting vibrancy.  Longing to feel as if our work that has emerged from within has made a connection and resonated with others in some way.

Longing to achieve the perfect expression, whatever that may be.

To know that we may never arrive, doesn't dampen the desire to try. And you certainly keep going in the hope that you will. For anytime we experience the moment when it does come together, when we feel fleetingly or briefly that we have achieved something special, those moments are worth pursuing.

Anselm Keifer, The Secret Life of Plants, 2002


  1. My over arching goal is to become the best artist I can be. Since we are never done and always evolving, I will never "reach" that goal. It is striving that is the reward.

    I always appreciate your thoughts Fiona.

  2. Ohhhh Fiona... you read my mind. Time is so short and the artistic destination always JUST out of reach. Anslem's work is to die for.

  3. as I'm writing presently (durn that exegesis).... process is at the centre of everything.....

    (ps love AK)

  4. To me there is no perfection in art. It just is. And I feel so fortunate to be able to tap into that creativity and just ride the wave, let it take me where it will. I so appreciate your thought provoking posts. Incidentally I just loved that book the Secret Life of Plants. It's wonderful! It irreversibly changed my view of the world .

  5. F- such a truth - sums it all up - but the longing need not be sad or negative - rather a desire to continue to create and build on what we do. And I love the majesty of that 'book'. B

  6. Thanks Lesley, its so good to realise we are all still learning and evolving, and the task is continue to strive to be the best we can be...

    Jo - so true; just out of reach, but sometimes within our grasp fro a fleeting moment. His work is phenomenal.

    Ronnie - Yep - its all about the process, the journey, the seeking...

    Louise - I said those very words "riding the wave" to someone at dinner last night, about going with the moment and taking it for however long it lasts! That book is amazing - how do you conceive of a book on that scale and with that material. Stunning...And thanks for appreciating my thoughts and ponderings.

    B - so true, and I don' think its sad at all; there's a certain energy being renewed each time to go for it I think. Ahh THAT book.

  7. Hi F, great book and thought provoking words - the longing makes my heart ache xoxoxo

  8. Ah yes N - great book and the longing; its always there but can be a comfort too I think; a travelling companion in a way.

  9. what a beautifully profound thought... so very very true... our hours are filled with the dreams of how to express our world... whether in thought, plan or execution... thank you -

  10. Wonderful thoughts, F. I suppose the greatest challenge for artists is to be driven by longing in a positive way and not have it fulfill its negative potential for frustration and despair when the thing you seek can never quite be realized, so why bother? I've seen this happen to some very talented souls who lacked the perspective and patience to enjoy the journey as an end in itself. Thanks for these wise words!

  11. Amen; Well said, Fiona! (and a gorgeous book!! Thanks for sharing it.)

  12. Hello Maire - thanks; I think we do share this feeling of longing for expression; in so many ways.

    G/TT - I'm never sure about the wisdom of the words, but they do express things! Positive longing is nurturing and encouraging in a way isn't it; the negative is really all about beating yourself up, too many "shoulds" and never pausing to reflect, acknowledge, accept what you've achieved...not so good for living a life.

    Jane - thanks and glad it resonated. It's a remarkable book I think!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.