from John Wood’s introduction in “Moth and Bonelight”

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

“The word Surrealism used in reference to the 20th Century art movement founded by André Breton is a useful term. Used elsewhere, it is less so and means little more than “strange.” In fact, the word has become virtually meaningless because it only suggests that the artist’s imagery combines aspects of the world in ways that do not exactly mimic everyday reality—but that is what every painting and every other work of visual art does to some degree. All visual art has an element of strangeness about it, if only because three dimensional objects are transformed into two or flesh is changed into paint, marble, bronze, wood, ivory, steel, and so forth. The visual arts are by definition a strange-making of the world. And so are poetry and fiction. And that is their thrill and their power. That is why we like them, why we need them. They free us from the quotidian reality of our own lives by giving us something that seems more true, more real, and more meaningful—even in their depiction of lives as commonplace as our own. That is the way of art because it demands artifice and structure while life only demands continued biological functions. Though art only mimics life, at times it can seem more vital, more alive, than the real thing.”

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