On Painting:

by Stefan Arteni

On Painting
Otherwhere Otherwise
Painting, Image Likeness
A Wandering Journey
Painting Calligraphy
Painting as Polycontexturality






Sol Invictus Press

The channel forms as the water flows.

Zen Proverb

Does man touch the mystery of finitude only still in art,
which has not shed its cultic (Gadamer) and ludic (Huizinga)

Art is in the artist. The opus is made per artem. Paint
continuously alters the operation: materialis efficetur.
    Painting is a manifold topology/place-ing of markings,
    coming forth, gathering up in accordance to an
    asignifying syntax (Staal), attuned to the open/no-thingness
    which is as real as the marks themselves.
Doing-being-becoming are cut off from a why and wherefore
outside of themselves and become autotelic (Nishitani),


what Buddhism calls playful samadhi (settling) and what
Taoism calls wu-wei (action as manifestation without
limitations): letting-be as such/letting go.

But what is useless can still be a force
and perhaps the only one.

Martin Heidegger

…the painting, a concrete metaphor of a
general idea of matter…

Jean Pierre Jouffroy

techne - knowledge/ know-how/ a revealing, bringing-forth
                of whatever can look and turn out now one way and
                now another

Painting is dependent upon the specific phenomena of vision:
marks are made to be seen and are dependent upon the inner
dynamic of the tool and medium (Sausmarez). It is one thing
to see a painting as a painting, beyond the thrill of recognition
and literary associations, and another to see it as some
particular painting of something (Wittgenstein).
    The painter thinks in paint (Merleau-Ponty). Matter imposes
    restrictions (Putnam). Primitive craftsmen were surrounded
    by awe: lords of the hands. Artists today suffer of the complex
    of being a mere vilis mechanicus, reproducing the division
    of labour into mental and manual components, with primacy
    of place reserved for the former (Lincoln). Painting is a
    knowledge in the hands (Merleau-Ponty): Velasquez’s
    dita pensose.

All this pertains to I do not know what
alphabet of which only a part is

Nicolas de Stael

Invited or not, the God will be present.

The Oracle at Delphi

lila - the play of divine energy that mediates between emptiness
        and the world of name and shape

samadhi - related linguistically to the Greek synthesis

Matter transforms itself condensing into dynamic structures,
primary and secondary accords, dynamic continuity, actualising
potentialities. Interval is matter.
    Though one may attain a beginning before the beginning,
    nothing is attained: a supralogical realization of the paradox
    expressed in the timeless attitude of potential ‘void’, destitute
    of meaning, a silent growth, transmutation, and destruction,
    limiting qualifications of works as roadmarks on a path that
    is intrinsically illusory, the showing/pointing to as to ‘make
    appear’ / ‘to let shine forth’ (Heidegger).
In India painting is somethin colorful (citra), it is a shining
forth (abhasa), a sign that may not become transparent in the
act of reference (Vattimo), never used up by interpretation.

We know only that the masks of Dionysos
should make the god present in his
epiphany…the mask is entirely encounter,
only encounter, pure face-to-face,…
the most immediate presence, absolute

W. F. Otto

Dionysos, the formless-forming,
constructing-destroying god whose
regard is the mask, whose epiphany
is his hiddenness, who is one and many,
exuberant life and the simple serenity
of Hades…

Eugen Fink

Paint resists and yields, the fluid/viscous vehicle becomes the
dominant substance - a work of binding, duration being engraved
in the paste - , a de-formation of the formless to create
form (Bachelard), a ritualized doing which controls the mind: a
painting is an articulated relational system, a two-dimensional
field constructed of integrally related areas, each influenced by its
environment and by the operating inter-relationships, essentially
vectorial (e.g. El Greco’s form felt from within) and
kinetic (rhythm), following systems of rules selected by cultural
constraints (Chomsky), a map with its mysterious conventions,
apparently a random collection of colors that the initiate perceives
as forces at work that in turn transform him. Being grows out of
doing, the repeated doing gives shape to the artist’s Being (Zimmer).

There is no immobile color.

Paul Claudel

The mathematics of picture-making lead
me to the physics of representation.

Juan Gris

Paint is a medium that is worked by attentiveness to the way paint as
paint will allow itself to be manipulated in order to obtain from one’s
instrument the modulations that fit it.
    The painting is thus defined as an internal multiplicity – relations
    and singularities within the play of reciprocal determinations –
    where intensive variations (e.g. degrees of whiteness) appear as
    individuating modalities. The parts of a painting sustain a
    twofold type of relation among themselves - a relation of each
    to the other parts, and of each to the whole (Pareyson).
Painting is a set/network of alterable, many-layered
conventions (Schlick), subject to internal consistency: a pictorial
formula, everytime a total, constructed according to its own
syntactic matrices.

To see is in principle to see more than
what one sees, it is access to a latent
being. The invisible is the prominence
and depth of the visible…

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

A painting is a thing which requires as
much cunning, rascality and viciousness
as the perpetration of a crime.

Edgar Degas

The techniques may be seen as stratagems; grasp of a method – rules
that can be learned only as instruments for carrying out operative
functions – does not carry with it the ability to visualize the product.
The development is not determined, although it is
constrained (Bachelard). The formal demands of pictorial space
have to be carried out according to laws which hold in virtue of
form, not content (Arnheim). Point, line, extension, plane, are
defined implicitely via interrelations.

Only now are you going your way to
greatness! Peak and abyss - they
are now joined together.

Friedrich Nietzsche

For it hates
the thoughtful God
Growth out of time.

Friedrich Holderlin

The artist relates to form for its own sake. What matters is
form-grounding. Form sets up providing the guiding measure through
harmony (armos: joining/organicity) by means of the dynamic
symmetry (Pythagoras) of proportions.
The work made according to art (poiesis) requires choice and
filtering, selection and joining (Ricoeur). Technique – the means
and ways of operation – is determined but has to be discovered.
It is closely related to the individuality of the work and strictly
adapted to the painter (Maritain).

Art, if it can be compared to a window
at all, is only a sketched window.

Victor Shklovsky

© 2001 Stefan Arteni
& Myriam S.P.de Arteni
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