“let us say that moral choice is like constructing a work of art” – Jean-Paul Sartre
“couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art?” – Michel Foucault
“Clichés are always-already on the canvas.” – Gilles Deleuze
I’m very interested in considering both Sartre’s and Foucault’s conceptions of freedom alongside one another. I love placing the quote from Deleuze’s book on Francis Bacon in this matrix here too because it really fits with the fact that for both Sartre and Foucault we are always working with givens… our facticity, our situatedness, our history, the mechanisms of subjectivization that we’ve undergone, the discipline we’ve been effected by, the games of power, the regimes of truth, the limits… and asking how we can make something out of what has been made of us. Creation never starts from a zero point. Freedom, and thinking, always occur (if they do occur) at the limit.
An artist is always responding to his surroundings, to his position in society, to the traditions and trends which have marked out his own terrain, and making use of the tools available to him… including the canvas, blank though it may appear to be… it is already imbued with expectations and clichés, they become our inheritance. How do they effect us? How can we own them and make our own choices in the face of them?