Unreal Nature

February 21, 2014

Totally, Suddenly, from All the Work Before

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:19 am

… In my work, the visual is always subservient to the field, the total system of perception/cognition at work.

This is from ‘Putting the Whole Back Together’ (1992) in the collection of writings, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994 by Bill Viola (1995):

… when I think back and try to pinpoint a specific influence, I can’t — it’s all like a big bowl of Minestrone soup, which is maybe the most accurate model of a human being. You just never know what’s going to be an influence — the time you got sick on a long car trip, or reading a book on the history of religion. I guess I have always been unconsciously aware of this phenomenon, because I remember that from when I was quite young I always kept very active notebooks. Not notebooks like sketchbooks, which I have never kept, but notebooks like a journal or a kind of travelogue, mapping a personal course through various readings, quotations, associations, observations, experiments, and ideas for pieces, all jumbled into one. There was an occasional picture but for the most part it was all written down in words, even the visual things.

[line break added to make this easier to read online] Everything I have ever published or created as an artist has come from these books. I should call them the Minestrone recipe books. It’s an interesting thing, all the words and so few pictures. It was like I’ve been trying to arrive at the visual by skirting it. I guess I do have a mistrust of only working something out in pictures, a fear that it’s possible to make something that looks good (that is, is successful) but doesn’t think well (that is, have depth). For me, the visual has always been the end, the last step, so that the final point of making a work is to plunge, to dive right into the image, totally, suddenly, from all the work before. In my work, the visual is always subservient to the field, the total system of perception/cognition at work.

-Julie

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