Modern art has always only shown itself to me in trends and blowhards, so I couldn't be a modern artist. There were always powerful movements or groups that today we don't even know anymore.
One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is idiocy.
I can't always reach the image in my mind.. almost never, in fact.. so that the abstract image I create is not quite there, but it gets to the point where I can leave it.
Form is all we have to help us cope with fundamentally chaotic facts and assaults. Formulating something is a great start. I trust form, trust my feeling or capacity to find the right form for something. Even if that is only by being well organized. That too is form.
I would do different jobs. I didn't want to have to make paintings I would be paid for, nor did I want to have to be nice to a dealer.
The tough part is always at the end. The beginning is always easy.
What I'm attempting in each picture is nothing other than this.. to bring together in a living and viable way, the most different and the most contradictory elements in the greatest possible freedom.
I have to have a mental picture, an image, to start. I never reach this image, but it's good to begin with it.
How could one be in this world without feeling dismayed by it? Even if one paints flowers and gingerbread.
The idea that art copies nature is a fatal misconception. Art has always operated against nature and for reason.
To believe, one must have lost God; to paint, one must have lost art.
I prefer the 'naive' photograph, with a simple, uncomplicated composition. That's why I like the Mona Lisa so much; there's nothing to her.
Being able to do something is never an adequate reason for doing it.
Talk about painting: there's no point. By conveying a thing through the medium of language, you change it. You construct qualities that can be said, and you leave out the ones that can't be said but are always the most important.
Now that there are no priests or philosophers left, artists are the most important people in the world.
Photography altered ways of seeing and thinking. Photographs were regarded as true, paintings as artificial. The painted picture was no longer credible; its representation froze into immobility, because it was not authentic but invented.
The first time I painted from a photograph, I did so in a mixture of exhilaration and fear, partly because I was strongly affected by contemporary Fluxus events, and partly also because I once did a lot of photography myself and worked for a photographer for eighteen months: masses of photographs that passed through the bath of developer every day may have created a lasting trauma. There must be other reasons. I can't tell exactly.
When I first painted a number of canvases grey all over I did so because I did not know what to paint, or what there might be to paint: so wretched a start could lead to nothing meaningful. As time went on, however, I observed differences of quality among grey surfaces, and also that these betrayed nothing of the destructive motivation that lay behind them. The pictures began to teach me. By generalizing a personal dilemma, they resolved it. Destitution became a constructive statement; it became relative perfection, beauty, and therefore painting.
The deaths of terrorists, and the related events both before and after, stand for a horror that distressed me and has haunted me as unfinished business ever since, despite all my efforts to suppress it.
For about a year now, I have been unable to do anything in my painting but scrape off, pile on and then remove again. In this process I don't actually reveal what was beneath. If I wanted to do that, I would have to think what to reveal (figurative pictures or signs or patterns); that is, pictures that might as well be produced direct. It would also be something of a symbolic trick: bringing to light the lost, buried pictures, or something to that effect.
The image of the artist as a misunderstood figure is abhorrent to me. I much prefer the high times, as in the Renaissance or in Egypt, where art was part of the social order and was needed in the present. The suffering, unappreciated Van Gogh is not my ideal.