Man as Abstraction (Repost)

“An artist is a man who tries to express the inexpressible. He struggles and suffers knowing that he can never realise his most perfect ideal.” – Alvin Langdon Coburn, 1916

I think that Coburn was right to some degree. Without stating the obvious, he implies that the artist will never be content with his art. What I disagree about Coburn’s statement is that his reason for discontent is based on his assumption that man’s intelligence will continue to expand in the light of more perfect knowledge of himself and the universe. I think that it is precisely this expansion of man’s knowledge that he talks about that will drive man to despair and anxiety. As I look at myself and as soon as I’m past my physiology, and if I am truly honest with my assessment, the more I learn about my condition and the environment I am in, the more things don’t make sense. The more I strive to achieve the perfect art form, the more I realize that such pursuit will likely result in vain.

Originally posted April 19, 2012


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