Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Destruction Is Creation"

While not posted as a comment on my last post, this was a response that I got to my reflections on the neon statement: "Artists need to create on the same scale as society has the capacity to destroy"

I've been thinking about this statement. "Destruction is Creation."

Here is a quote by Chuang Tzu, as translated by Derek Lin:

"When you break something up, you create things.
When you create something, you destroy things.
Material things have no creation or destruction.
Ultimately these concepts connect as one." 

Yes, this is true. 
It is true that forest fires create space for new growth and generate ash which is very fertile for the land.
It is true that the breaking down of a structure can allow for a new one to form. If one is not attached to either form than the "destruction" of one can certainly be the "creation" of another.

Still, there is something sticky. I suppose I am thinking about different types of creation and destruction. Different qualities, different intentions. As an artist, I'm thinking about my own creative process, and the things I've learned along the way. I'm thinking about a transformative process and calling one type of energy "creation" and the other "destruction". 

The process I am aware of, which I call "creation", has an intention which guides it. This process is deliberate and considered. It is a kind of refinement and also communication. 

The process I am aware of, which I call "destruction", uses a totally different type of energy. I feel like the difference is in the intention. I think that the attempt at communication is missing, and rather, it is a kind of erasure. 

Here is a piece that I "created" this past week for a show at 23HAM in Berkeley.
To create this piece I cut out 95% of all of the words that were printed on the map. This was a subtractive process, I was, in a sense, taking the map apart. Does this make it a destructive process? I don't think so.

I did destruct the map to create the artwork. Is that the same as cutting up the map aimlessly? Destruction that results in a pile of cut up paper? Is a pile of aimlessly cut up paper different than art? Hmmm... these are tough questions. My sense is that they are not the same. Intention seems like the key.

Here is a Scottish artist (who shares my name) who focuses in this type of creation through destruction, Georgia Russell:

De Baudelaire au Surréalisme 2007

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