Browsing through the June 2010 issue of ARTnews, I stopped at an advertisement for a show at Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, NC 28211. “Robert Motherwell’s journey through line and form provides us with a sense of getting lost and subsequently finding possibilities.”
And that triggered a volley of thoughts – about losing and finding, about getting lost and finding onself again, and about losing everything and discovering freedom.
“I once was lost but now am found, / Was blind, but now I see.” (Amazing Grace, words by John Newton, 1725-1807)
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” (as sung by Janis Joplin; songwriters, Fred L Foster, and Kris Kristofferson)
And that is akin, I think, to the briefest Zen saying I’m aware of: “Don’t know.”
But that, in turn, tumbles down into another saying: “I don’t learn a lot with my mouth open.”
But what about the words of St John: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.” (John 3:11, AV)
Have I lost you?
Igor Stravinsky used restrictions and limitations as a means of making himself more free to express himself: “I feel a kind of fear when I, in the moment I start to work, face to face with an endless number of possibilities, have the impression that everything is allowed. If it is, both the best and the worst, if I do not have to meet any resistance, then working is just unthinkable. I have nothing to build on, and then it is just a waste to try.” (Igor Stravinsky, in Poétique musicale).
Stravinsky, Igor. 1942. Poétique musicale. Paris.