Que saiz-je?

November 4th, 2014

Previous entries of the blog, the Que-saiz je? series, which I wrote from October 2012 until April 2014 are now in this pdf.

This is a fresh start for the blog, which I will write now alternatively in Spanish and English, depending of the theme and the mood.

 

 

 

Que saiz-je?

I think these are not new ideas about art, but instances of a line of thinking that can be followed in authors of all times, only if you know where and how to look. The reason why this view is put aside doesn’t respond always to a Machiavellian plan, its knowledge being prevented by people with other interests, but it also comes out of the difficulties of finding the right cues and paths to reach it. Many young artists are driven by what art really represents in their lives, but they are misguided when offered instead insistently art in the shape of decoy representations, different than the one they are really moved by.The meaning of these series is to express a point of view toward certain matters on contemporary art that I feel is not present in most art contexts and that, if taken in account, would enrich the awareness and experiences of artists and art people.

Each Monday I deliver a new title which is usually triggered by an idea I found false, reductive or incomplete, which I have heard or read on an author who has stated it as if it was unquestionable truth, and taking for granted the agreement of those reading or listening (me among others).

I am especially happy with the title of the series. The formula que sais-je? remits to the French book collection that puts at the reach of general public areas of knowledge which have been established as objective truth. It makes it a bit more complex the fact that it is in a question form: the author questions himself what he/she already knows but perhaps he/she is not aware of. It seems to be doubting of his/her own accepted knowledge. To substitute “sais” by “saiz” perverts further this relationship with truth and objectivity: the knowledge stated in these articles is true conforming to saizĀ“s idea of the subject and of what is true, of which he, himself, systematically doubts.

Even further, the question might be also interpreted as something like, “what kind of saiz am I?” or “who am I?, being these series then an attempt of defining my own for myself, by looking at ideas I guess I stand for but I am not sure until I write about them (even then, I do not know for sure).

Ever since Michel de Montaigne, the founder of the modern essay, gave as a motto his befuddled “What do I know?” and put forth a vision of humanity as mentally wavering and inconstant, the essay has become a meadow inviting contradiction, paradox, irresolution and self-doubt. The essay’s job is to track consciousness; if you are fully aware of your mind you will find your thoughts doubling back, registering little peeps of ambivalence or disbelief. According to Theodor Adorno, the iron law of the essay is heresy. What is heresy if not the expression of contrarian doubt about communal pieties or orthodox positions? This is sometimes called “critical thinking,” an ostensible goal of education in a democracy. But since such thinking often rocks the boat, we may find it less than supported in school settings. Typically, the exercise of doubt is something an individual has to cultivate on his or her own, in private, before summoning the courage to air it, say, in an essay.

Phillip Lopate in The New York Times

from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/the-essay-an-exercise-in-doubt