The Fall of Faust is the fall of the artist, the fall of the man who
wants to create something or who has the presumption to create something.
The artist’s fall happens, if he is objective and honest, because he
understands that the creation of ‘something’ will inevitably lead to the
ART Faust, the artist, faces his own creation and finds it is not as
perfect as his pure idea - the idea that he wanted to translate in a
tangible way, and he is not satisfied. He asks himself: “What is art?
What does it mean?” ART = VULGARITY He finds that what he has created is ‘vulgar’ –
that to create is an act of presumption and he concludes that his
creation, whether beautiful or not, has only been produced to declare
himself to the world. THE ARTIST’S REALIZATION He experiences revulsion of knowledge
because of the pretension of knowing. TRAGIC NATURE Because knowledge is so vast and far-reaching he
realizes that, as a human being, he will never be capable of embracing
knowledge in its absolute complexity. He has to accept that his nature
is limited and therefore tragic and that he does not have the means to
understand what knowledge is. He can only comprehend that ultimately he,
as subject of knowledge, is the object of knowledge itself and the
reason why knowledge exists. He defers to the infinity of knowledge,
accepting that he has access to only a small part of it and that the
subject of knowledge is the object of knowledge itself.
‘Tragic nature’ is consciousness. Faust, the artist, becomes ‘conscious’
of the only way of procuring some knowledge. He understands the
limitations, his limit as a human being - a being that has the
presumption of knowing and creating. He can only ‘know’ that his life is
limited and that he has to accept it as such. His position is tragic.
His only real knowledge is his consciousness of that tragedy. KNOWLEDGE The tragedy of the knowledge of tragedy.
THE DIVERSITY OF THE ARTIST’S POSITION The presumption to create
‘ex nihilo nihil’ (nothing is created from nothing) is an act of will,
of non-conformity - but ‘ex nihilo nihil’ is impossible; it does not
exist.In the end, if art is just an act of will (and undoubtedly it is
an act of will) Faust’s (the artist’s) final question to himself is the
following: “Art qua Voluntary Act? Hence Vulgarity.” Every volunteer act
is vulgar. Nobody can escape this statement. We can just pretend to be
blind to it. Faust’s consequential answer to his final question brings
him to the initial identity: ART = VULGARITY. I. Art and science are free, and their teachings are free.
II. Man must not impose either limits or boundaries on art and
science; they must be allowed free rein. If limits are imposed, art and
science become filiations of man’s ego, an ego predisposed by internal
unease and social disquietude and, as such, they become ‘reflection’ and
‘subject’ and therefore inferior. III. To impose is to oppose. IV. Art and science are entities of a higher expression and
maintain a propulsive force such that they can never be subjected to the
dominion of man. Anyone who imposes limits and boundaries on art and
science are doing nothing more than imposing limits and boundaries on
him/herself. V. The limits and boundaries of art and science (as ‘entity-subject’)
must be searched for in their autonomous freedom and existence. VI. It is necessary for man to place himself dialogically before
art and science, respecting the dignity and the essential existence of
these entities. VII. Aberration is borne out of the effects and accidents of the
species (nature) including mankind. Aberrations are none the less
necessary. VIII. Art and science intrinsically harbor a force of rebellion
when man commands them without ‘knowing’ them. This becomes a
destructive force when man covets and abuses them. IX. Consensus is only a quantitative appreciation - the adherence
of many to one. X. It is possible for one to consent to an effect or thing
without necessarily feeling that it is a part of oneself - to consent
only because that effect or thing is marvelous. This kind of
appreciation happens as a response to taste or pleasure but what one is
actually recognizing is the nuance of something that promotes a need for satisfaction, something
that fills the desire of the instant. XI. Whatever the question, if it is heard from outside our
‘being’ it should not to be judged at all, because it has not been
understood. Knowledge, ego, being.
Non-ego. XII. Knowledge (whether of the many or the few makes no
difference) is an incommensurable force, often non-existent.
The ‘author-demiurge’ is a tragic entity in that he does not create, but
rather realizes himself only temporarily, or put another way, he
produces ‘time’ - a time that is represented, vis-à-vis the work, as
a‘phase-of-knowledge’. He tends to attain knowledge or at least to
possess a part of it. In truth, this coincides with the limitations of
the author, his individual deficiencies and the paucity of his intents.
He only ‘follows’ the idea of knowledge, an absurd idea that is
absolutely extraneous to knowledge in and of itself.
In art, producing time is a negation of the concept of time itself. The
executing procedure of the ‘author-demiurge’ is an attempt to realize
and steer the idea (that he possesses) ‘from’ – ‘to’, but this movement
in fact debases the nature or the ideal of the idea. Idea is an entity
that makes sense only in that it ‘is’. It does not ‘represent’.
Realization of the idea is therefore inferior. The ‘author-demiurge’
commands, with the ability that he is convinced he possesses, and leads
the idea to an equally lofty or intense (expressive!) level. Whatever
the final result, the level is always lower because the result is always
the end result of imitation. The ‘author-demiurge’ must be absolutely
aware of this, otherwise he would not only be an imitator but a
deplorable liar. He ascertains, in this failure, tragedy itself - the
tragic end of an idea and the tragic end of the author of the
transformation (from idea to realization) who thereby becomes an ape. By
imitating the idea, the author even debases the ape, he kills the idea
in order to give life to an image, but the image is a mirror, a mere
aberration of the idea. The ape is the ‘mirror-aberration’ of the author.
It is the author himself who is incapable of attaining any other
knowledge, or rather the knowledge of himself or his tragic simian
What allows us to differentiate the ‘vulgar’ from ‘art’? What do we mean
by vulgar? Is nature vulgar? Never. What about Man? Man is often,
perhaps always, vulgar. Art is therefore the highest level of vulgarity,
ergo what is vulgar is art. It is the same thing. However, this is
evidently contradictory, as art is different from vulgarity, or at least
we think there is a difference between the two. If nature expresses
itself through us, via art, what detaches and distances man from nature
is technique. Thus, technique is undoubtedly vulgar.
Art and philosophy are identified with freedom of thought, thought that
is free to err through necessity. Art does not evolve! Technology
evolves. Those who speak of the evolution of art and proclaim its death
are vulgar. It is purity, ingenuity, and honesty that save us from
vulgarity. However, it is difficult to ‘find’ ourselves in times that
smell of death, corruption, and rot. But reality does not have a stench;
it is corpses that smell and the cities are full of them. In the hands
of these corpses everything is vulgar, even nature itself. I suffer
immensely from having to see nature made vulgar, and even more so from
having to admit that this is possible. “Bodies, indeed, must be disposed
of more than excrement itself.” Heraclitus.
By exasperating the Greek concept of art, modernity has rendered the
concept of creation an absurdity. Creation is an absurdity as ‘ex nihilo
nihil’, meaning nothing is created from nothing. The modern artist, like
the ‘author-demiurge’, is a presumptuous madman as he is devoid of the
sense of necessity. He is an ungainly ape - a tragic ape. The tragedy is
underpinned by fixed, insurmountable canons: the subject of deciding is
the subject that must be decided. This is the revelation of its comic
nature. The ‘author-demiurge’ becomes a mad, pathetic clown, aping
himself; a tragic ape persuaded of the fact that the being is nothing.
Faced with necessity he seems to be limited in his movement, stupidly
haughty about something that does not belong to him. Because he has been
persuaded of the fact that he creates his own works he is firmly
convinced he is the author of these works. ON THE CHARACTER OF ART
Art (and hence literature) has no gender; it is neutered and ambiguous.
More than a ‘being’ it is a ‘being-able-to-be’. Eugenio Montale was one
of the first to say as much. It is a perennial question that never gives
an answer. It always asks questions, putting in doubt the sensitivity of
those who would question it. It is ungraspable, unspeakable, a
suspension, an altering of the logical rules proper to the kingdom of
paradoxes - a contradiction that cannot do without itself. It lives
through imitation, simulation, and fiction. The only form of sincerity
that can be gleaned is that it does not deny the drama of existence, the
tragedy of human life, precisely when it is called on to give an answer
to these questions. But even if it managed to propose solutions, these
would be impossible to realize in reality, because art is always a
fleeing from real time, a temporal negation that, in order to affirm
itself, annihilates the concept of art itself.
Of Art magazine