“He is closer to mourning than to pay.”

January 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

The arts are not destined, as history, to organize forgetfulness. Nor to give meaning to meaning’s Other. Nor to besmirch and swallow up the bygone days of the earth. Nor here and now to abolish time’s Elsewhere. Nor to proscribe the languages that predate all natural language. Nor to wall up the Open. You have to be a Nazi to think that art is a decorative lie. You have to be a Communist to see art as recreation. You have to be a bourgeois liberal to think it amuses. Only in totalitarian regimes is art conceived as an aestheticization of subjection, a creation of legends out of the past, a constant faking-up of the coming and passing hour. The artist cannot take part in the operation of the human community at the very same time as he is striving to detach himself from it. Nor is it even for him to receive wages in exchange for his work. He is closer to¬† mourning than to pay. Less forgetful than voluntary memory. Less self-interested than money in trade. It is not the function of art to deny the Other of the social.

– Pascal Quignard, The Roving Shadows

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