Saturday, December 15


I meant that it is often supposed that in order to write a play one has, or ought to have, an idea, or certain ideas, or a coherent set of ideas that must be translated into scenic images, which will illustrate these ideas or doctrines...

In actual fact, the language of artistic creation is often that which is the most complex, the most charged with meaning; far from having to be determined by some system of thought which is extrinsic or superior to it, and to which it merely has to submit, it's often the artist's language which stimulates and engenders the thought of others, which creates new ways of seeing the world, hence a new mentality. Ideologies, sociologies, systems of aesthetics are nurtured on works of art. There can be no philosophy of culture without culture itself, no philosophical theory without those living examples of psychology, works of art, whose authors did not need to know or take into account the closed experiences of the past. Otherwise there would never have been anything new. This new element, which is knowledge of something, is also construction, of course, since any knowledge, any encounter between the self and the world is a projection of the self into that substance which is the world, a projection, that's to say a pattern, a shape, an architecture.

To sum it all up, let's say that the artist may perhaps not have any ideas at the back of his head, or over the top of his head, which he feels bound to demonstrate. But he has ideas in his head which are potentialities, living seeds which shoot up and blossom in their own way, according to their own nature, according to the modalities proper to creation which is a concrete, autonomous form of thought, exploring the world and at the same time constructing it, since all knowledge is projection.

A whole world is built up, or disclosed, as the artist writes it and thinks it.

Practice makes perfect, or, as Raymond Queneau has neatly and wittily put it: 'C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron, c’est en écrivant qu’on devient écriveron.'*

-- Eugène Ionesco Fragments of a Journal
Translated by Jean Stewart

*It is in forging that one becomes a blacksmith, it is in writing that one becomes a writesmith.