Henri Matisse: art, not-knowing and energy

“A musician once said: In art, truth and reality begin when one no longer understands what one is doing or what one knows, and when there remains an energy that is all the stronger for being constrained, controlled and compressed. It is therefore necessary to present oneself with the greatest humility: white, pure, and candid with a mind as if empty, in a spiritual state analogous to that of a communicant approaching the Lord’s table. Obviously it is necessary to have all of one’s experience behind one, but to preserve the freshness of one’s instincts.”

This is a quote, by Matisse himself, from Henri Matisse Jazz, artworks

cut with scissors from painted paper, in 1941 while he was convalescing after an operation. He called them “the simultaneous effects of my chromatic and rhythmic improvisations” – Jazz.

It reminds me of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous comment as quoted by HenriMatisse: At last I don’t know how to draw!’

Or click here: The Awakened Eye

What interests me is this “not-knowing place”, the pristine state of mind untainted by memory, open and receptive to the fresh impressions given in the present moment.

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