Two thoughts about art, via Werner Herzog
There is something so fundamentally anti-life about creating art. It comes from this very sad, alienated place, in part; you’re creating art because you don’t want to be alive, or if you do want to be alive, you’d rather it was in a different world.
Obviously there is also something very life-affirming about creating, but I’d say that the life-affirming part is usually overstated, and what art really is is creativity-affirming. In other words, it loves itself and the process of its own generation, not so much the life it reflects or distorts.
And when you sit down to write or compose something, you think, “oh well, fuck life, it’s boring,” but since so much of what you love is included in that statement, it never ceases to be odd that as creative human beings we’re impelled to make it.
It’s also funny that artists who are established get to say this nonsense that we are always saying to ourselves but are too embarrassed to say out loud because we’re not famous. Werner Herzog, for example, apparently has said that he believes that “truth” happens through ecstasy. Now this is something I’ve believed for a very long time, and I’ve had all kinds of vaguely mystical ideas about ecstatic consciousness and the revelation of truth, but I never really talked about it because I figured someone would laugh at me. And now SFMOMA is presenting “Werner Herzog and Ecstatic Truth.”