Saturday, March 6, 2010

Risk Society

"The artist, in a sense, creates himself, makes himself interesting, and then places himself on display. It is a fabulous privilege, but only provided he accepts the opposite side of the coin: the risk involved in being studied, analyzed, notated, judged, criticized, disagreed with.

"Those who do the judging — I testify from experience — are cognizant of the enormous privilege of the act of creation, of the risks incurred by the one who exposes himself thus, and in turn feel a secret admiration and respect which would at least partially restore the artist's peace of mind if he could know it. 'You cannot write a great article on what someone else has created; that's criticism,' said Boris Vian.

"In the relations between artist and critic, everything takes place in terms of power, and curiously, the critic never loses sight of this fact that in the power relationship he is the weaker even if he tries to hide the fact with an aggressive tone; while the artist constantly loses sight of his metaphysical supremacy. The artist's lack of perspective can be attributed to emotionalism, sensitivity (or sentimentality), and certainly to the more or less powerful dose of paranoia that seems to be his lot."

— François Truffaut, "What Do Critics Dream About?" in The Films In My Life, trans. Leonard Mayhew, 13