… which seeks to insert itself into the stillness of cultural longing …
Art historical writing continues to assess art by its mastery and/or freedom of expression, rather than by the degree to which this mastery or this freedom is sacrificed to achieve a new freedom — one that knows no fear of tradition because it is absorbed and transmuted, by its own presence in the here-and-now, into a new tradition which becomes a new present.
[line break added] This takes place instantaneously because when past and present interpenetrate they are not crystallizations of intentions and truths, but constitute a beginning and end in themselves. Such an espousal of freedom may spring from some deep cultural longing; or it may be the journey of the individual sensibility through successive layers of myth; or it may be a constantly renewed encounter between inner nature — always active, saturated with images and destinies — and outer, surrounding nature which, synchronously, becomes a sediment-like deposit in its inner counterpart.
[line break added] This freedom is also a journey through all that is, has been and is still to come, through desires, dreams and intimations, through restful pauses and through restless quests for the sources of imagination and the spirit. It is the collective memory moving amid all those shifting focuses of free association that make up the knowledge of eternal recurrence. These portions of imagination may circulate both slowly and quickly; they may be both prepared and spontaneous.
[ … ]
… [Twombly’s] work seems to us both primeval and innovative like memory itself and its energies. Art at its best is a concentrated essence of life, imagination and dream — and of the audacities, the weaknesses, the fears and the desires of human beings and their gods. Art has its hard-fought battles and wars, its victories and defeats. Its creations are a synthesis of body, soul, heart and eros, a record of a momentary state within the evolving reality of an immense sensibility, which seeks to insert itself into the stillness of cultural longing: tender and vehement, conscious, spiritual, boundless.
My most recent previous post from this book is here.