The transformation of the materials from the past into resources for the future

Following on from my post about the Seduced by Art exhibition at the National Gallery, this is an interesting quote on the stealing/borrowing/ being-influenced-by-other-artists debate.

Libraries Within Libraries

“Art is the process of making sensations live, of giving an autonomous life to expressive qualities and material forms and through them affecting and being affected by life in its other modalities. As songbirds are themselves captivated by a tune sung by their most skillful and melodious rivals and fish are attracted to the most striking colours and movements of fish, even if these are not their own, so these qualities — melody, sonorous expression, colour, visual expression — are transferable, the human borrows them from the treasury of earthly and animal excess. But art is not simply the expression of an animal past, a prehistorical allegiance with the evolutionary forces that make one; it is not memorialization, the celebration of a shared past, but above all the transformation of the materials from the past into resources for the future, the sensations unavailable now but to be unleashed in the…

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About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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One Response to The transformation of the materials from the past into resources for the future

  1. Hi John. I like your reblog and commented at the original page by accident! I said: “I am just reading Stephen Bann’s book ‘Ways Around Modernism’ (following David Manley’s suggestion) and he is really good on the subject of how modernist painters quoted from paintings of the past (versus breaking with it).He uses river/sea metaphors contrasting with the familiar one of the watershead saying something that at least resonates with the bird/fish metaphors being used here.”

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