Wednesday, November 30, 2005


"Art is not the recovery of the innocent eye, which is inaccessible. 'Make it new' cannot mean, set it free of all learned frames and names, for paradoxically it is only a precise use of learned comparison and the signs we have made to distinguish things seen or recognized that can give the illusion of newness…One cannot think at all without a recognition and realignment of ways of thinking and seeing we have learned over time. We all remake the world as we see it, as we look at it."

— A.S. Byatt, Still Life


MaLj said...

From which book? I have only read (in Swedish translation) Byatt's novel about the secret life of a (fictional) victorian poet, and the scholars who found out about it.

Surly Terrier said...

This passage is a rather Trollopian parenthetical comment from "Still Life." Byatt is specifically referring to the visual arts here, since Van Gogh is threaded throughout the novel, but I think her statement is applicable to the arts in general.