"the creative act.
"let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of
art: the artist on the one hand, and on the other the spectator who later
becomes the posterity.
"to all appearances, the artists acts like a mediumnistic being who, from
the labyrinth beyond time ans space, seeks his way out to a clearing. if we
give the attributes of a medium to the artist, we must then deny him the
state of conciousness on the aesthetic plane about what he is doing or why
he is doing it. all his decisions in the artistic execution of the work
rest with pure intuition and cannot be translated into a self-analysis,
spoken of written, or even thought out.
"t. s. eliot, in his essay on 'tradition and individual talent,' writes:
'the more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be
the man who suffers and the mind which creates; the more perfectly will the
mind digest and transmute the passions wich are its material.'
"millions of artists create; only a few thousands are discussed or accepted
by the spectator and many less again are consacrated by posterity. in the
last analysis, the artist may shout from all the rooftops that he is a
genius; he will have to wait for the veredict of the spectator in order
that his declarations take a social value and that, finally, posterity
includes him in the primers of art history.
"i know that this statement will not meet with the approval of many artists
who refuse the mediumistic role and insist on the validity of their
awareness in the creative act--yet, art history has consistently decided
upon the virtues of a work of art through considerations completely
divorced from the rationalized explanations of the artist.
"if the artist, as a human being, full of the best intentions towards
himself and the whole world, plays no role at all in the judgement of his
own work, how one can describe the phenomenon which prompts the spectator
to react critically to the work of art? in other words, how does this
reactions come about?
"this phenomenon is comparable to transference from the artist to the
spectator in the form of aesthetic osmosis taking place through the inner
matter, such as pigment, piano or marble.
"but before we go further, i want to clarify our understanding of the word
'art,' to be sure, without any attempt at a definition. what i have in mind
is that art may be bad, good, or indifferent, but, whatever adjetive is
used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way as a
bad emotion is still an emotion.
"therefore, when i refer to 'art coefficient,' it will be understood that i
refer not only to great art, but i am trying to describe the subjective
mechanism which produces art in a raw state --a l'etat brut--bad, good or
"in the creative act, the artist goes from intention to realization,
through a chain of totally subjective reactions. his strugle toward the
realization is a series of efforts, pains, satisfactions, refusals,
decisions, which also cannot and must not be fully self-conscious, at least
on the aesthetic plane. the result of this struggle is a difference between
the intention and its realization, a difference which the artist is not
"consequently, in the chain of reactions, accompanying the creative act, a
link is mising. this gap, representing the inability of the artist to
express fully his intention , this difference between what he intended to
realize and did realize, is the personal 'art coefficient' contained in the
work. in other words, the personal 'art coefficient' is like an
arithmetical relation between the unexpressed but intended and the
"to avoid a misunderstanding, we must remember that this 'art coefficient'
is a personal expression of art al'etat brut, that is, still in a row
state, which must be 'refined,' as pure sugar from molasses, by the
spectator; the digit is the coefficient has no bearing whatsoever on his
veredict. the creative act takes another aspect when the spectator
experiences the phenomenon of transmutation: through the change from inert
matter into a work of art, and actual transubstantiation has taken place,
and the role of the spectator, is to determine the weight of the work on
the aesthetic scale.
"all in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the
spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering
and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to
he creative act.* this becomes even more obvious when posterity gives its
final veredict and sometimes rehabilites forgotten artists."
* "duchamp has emphasisez several times the role of the viewer, which he
epitomized in the formula 'the viewer are those who make the painting'
(bibl. 245, p. 143.) as kris points out , 'psychoanalytic investigation of
artistic creation has abundantly demonstrated the importance of the public
for the process of creation: wherever artistic creation takes place, the
idea of a public exists, though the artist may attribute this role to one
real or imaginary person. the artist may express indifference , may
elminate the consideration for an audience from his consciousness
altogether , or he may minimize its importance. but wherever the
unconscious aspect of artistic creation is studied, a public of some kind
emerges. this does not mean that striving for success, admiration , and
recognition, need be the mayor goal of all artistic creation . on the
contrary, artist are more likely than others to renounce public recognition
for the sake of their work. this quest need not be for approval of the many
but for response by some. the acknowledgement by response, however, is
essential to confirm their own belief in their work and to restore the very
balance which the creative process may have disturbed. response of others
alleviates the artist's guilt." Bibl. 167, p. 60.