09. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Quotes


Art belongs to the unconscious! One must express oneself! Express oneself directly! Not one’s taste, or one’s upbringing, or one’s intelligence, knowledge, or skill. Not all these acquired characteristics, but that which is inborn, instinctive. And all form-making, all conscious form-making, is connected with some kind of mathematics, or geometry, or with the golden section or suchlike. But only unconscious form-making, which sets up the equation ‘form = outward shape,’ really creates forms; that alone brings forth protoytpes which are imitated by unoriginal people and become ‘formulas.’ But whoever is capable of listening to himself, recognizing his own instincts, and also engrossing himself reflectively in every problem, will not need such crutches. One need not be a pioneer to create in this way, only a man who takes himself seriously—and thereby takes seriously that which is the true task of humanity in every intellectual or artistic field: to recognize, and to express what one has recognized!!! This is my belief!

-Arnold Schoenberg, letter to Kandinsky, 1911, translated by Joseph Auner in A Schoenberg Reader

(First read here at Alex Ross’s site.)

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