"Picasso on art" / by Yu Cao

"To find is the thing. When I paint my object is to show what I have found and not what I am looking for. What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing."

"To me there is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present it must not be considered at all."

"I have never made trials nor experiments. Whenever I had something  to say, I have said it in the manner in which I have felt it ought to be said. Different motives inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress, but an adaptation of the idea one wants to express and the means to express that idea." The precision and integrity of expressing. "I consider a work of art as the product of calculations. The calculation that precedes intelligence. It is the other self inside us who calculates." 

"Cubism is an art dealing primarily with forms, and when a form is realized it is there to live its own life.5"

*** "I want to get to the stage where nobody can tell how a picture of mine is done. What's the point of that? Simply that I want nothing but emotion to be given off by it."8 Emotion, expression,

"When I begin a picture, there is somebody who works with me. Toward the end, I get the impression that I have been working alone––without a collaborator." about being solitary.

*** "When you begin a picture, you often make some pretty discoveries. You must be on guard against these. Destroy the thing, do it over several times. In each destroying of a beautiful discovery, the artist does not really suppress it, but rather transforms it, condenses it, makes it more substantial. What comes out in the end is the result of discarded finds. Otherwise, you become your own connoisseur. I sell myself nothing." 9 "You understand, it's not a question of 'time found,' but of 'time to discover.'"28 I want to keep moving on. Suddenly lost interest in talking about myself. I was just stupid. "In my case a picture is a sum of destructions. I do a picture--then I destroy it. In the end, nothing is lost; the red I took away from one place turns up somewhere else." "The most important thing is to do, and nothing else; be what it may."38"After all, a work of art is not achieved by thought but with your hands."39

"There is no abstract art. You must start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. There's no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark. It is what started the artist off, excited his ideas, and stirred up his emotions. ... I didn't copy this light nor did I pay it any special attention. I was simply soaked in it. My eyes saw it and my subconscious registered what they saw: my hands fixed the impression. One cannot go against nature. It is stronger than the strongest man. It is pretty much to our interest to be on good terms with it!" 9 "The artist is always calculating without knowing, that the Doric column came forth as a hexameter does, from an operation of the senses, and that he had perhaps just invented that column in the same way the Greeks had discovered it."

"I deal with paintings as I deal with things, I paint a window just as I look out of a window. If an open window looks wrong in a picture, I draw the curtain and shut it, just as I would in my own room. In paintings, as in life, you must act directly." 10

"When things are concerned, there are no class distinctions. We must pick out what is good for us where we can find it--except from our own works. I have a horror of copying myself. But when I am shown a portfolio of old drawings, for instance, I have no qualms about taking anything I want from them." 10 "It's magnificent to invent new subjects. Take Van Gogh: Potatoes, those shapeless things! To have painted that or a pari of old shoes! That's really something!"

"Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. We love with our desires--although everything has been done to try and apply a canon even to love. ... It's not what the artist does that counts, but what he is. What forces our interest is Cézanne's anxiety--that's Cézanne's lesson; the torments of Van Gogh-- that is the actual drama of the man. The rest is a sham." 11 "What counts is what is spontaneous, impulsive. That is the truthful truth. What we impose upon ourselves does not emanate from ourselves."21 "It is my misfortune--and probably my delight-- to use things as my passions tell me. I put all the things I like in my paintings. The things-- so much the worse for them; they just have to put up with it."

"an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only a trifling bit of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than to plenty of other things which please us in the world, though we can't explain them."

Personality; Originality

He was so simple and sincere that I felt as though I had known him for years.

***************"I just want to reproduce the objects for what they are and not for what they mean.""I have never been out of reality. I have always been in the essence of reality. Now is the time in this period of changes and revolution to use a revolutionary manner of painting and not to paint like before.... But for me, I use a revolutionary expression. In this painting, there is no abstract significance.... I paint this way, because it's a result of my thought. I can't use an ordinary manner just to have the satisfaction of being understood. I don't want to go down to a lower level....the essence of what they see is really in the painting."142

*********"If it contains a truth, my work will be useful without my express wish. If it doesn't hold a truth, so much the worse. But I will never make art with the preconceived idea of serving the interests of the political, religious or military art of a country.""I don't make speeches. I speak through painting."

"there are lies of painting 'in the manner of',; but it is rare to find a young man working in his own way." "What I have to do is to utilize as best I can the ideas which objects suggest to me, connect, fuse and color in my way the shadows they cast within me, illumine them from the inside."19 "The time will come when you will suddenly realize that, without any help from the outside, you've learned all you need to know." 24  *****"I would prefer to invent a grammar of my own than to bind myself to rules which do not belong to me." pp.46 "Personality resides within the person himself. Personality does not emanate from the desire to be personal. The individual who insists on being original wastes his time and deceives himself; if he attains something it is but an imitation of what he likes, and if he goes farther it may be that what he does does not even resemble him."pp.46 I have been in this mood to some degree. "The inner I is inevitably in my painting, since it is I who make it. I needn't worry about that. Whatever I do, it will be there. It will be all too much there... it's the rest that is the problem!" pp.47 hahaha "For my part, I can't do anything else but what I am doing."pp.48 "in the discrepancy between perfect roundness and your closest approximation to it, you will find your personal expression."pp.47 "Disciples be damned. It's not interesting. It's only the masters that matter. Those who create. And they don't even turn around when you piss on their heels.." "Oh! no, Don't expect me to repeat myself. My past doesn't interest me any more. I would rather copy others that repeat myself. At least i would inject something new into them. I like discovering too much."pp.52 "Repetition is contrary to the laws of spirit, to its flight forward! Copying others is necessary, but what a pity to copy oneself!" "To repeat is to run counter to spiritual laws; essentially escapism." p56 "You should constantly try to paint like someone else. But the thing is, you can't! You would like to. You try. But it turns out to be a botch... And it's at the very moment you make a botch of it that you're yourself." pp.53 "I have never in any museum seen a picture as beautiful as this one, he said to me, pointing to a sheet of tin hanging on the door, the man who painted this picture was not thinking of his glory." pp54 "The important thing is that they start out with what belongs to them, is in them, and not with that which belongs to others or with what others discovered." "A young artist must forget painting when he paints. That's the only way he will do original work. To blossom forth, a work of art must ignore, or rather forget all the rules." pp.58

"The goal I proposed myself in making cubism? To paint and nothing more. And to paint seeking a new expression, divested of useless realism, with a method linked only to my thought -- without enslaving myself or associating myself with objective reality. It is my will that takes form outside of all extrinsic schemes, without considering what the public or the critics will say." pp.60 [][][][][]I have the will to make architecture purely an expression of the mind/thought free from associating one with objective reality, it will be emotion.[][][][][]

"When we invented cubism we had no intention whatever of inventing cubism. We wanted simply to express what was in us." 10 "We used to make our constructions, we produced 'pure truth', without pretensions, without tricks, without malice. We put enthusiasm into work, and this alone would be enough, for we surrendered ourselves to it completely, body and soul."pp.60

"I don't loathe art, because I couldn't live without devoting all the time to it. I love it as the only end of my life. Everything I do connected with it gives me intense pleasure. But still, I don't see why the whole world should be taken up with art, demand its credentials, and on that subject give free rein to its own stupidity." | "It's because, at the moment we're doing it, it makes us feel better. And that's the main thing."

"As far as I am concerned, at any rate, my original idea has no further interest, because in realizing it I am thinking about something else."16

"One simply paints--one doesn't paste one's ideas on a painting."17 "A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one's thought change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it." "While I am working I am not conscious of what I am putting on the canvas. Each time I undertake to paint a picture I have a sensation of leaping into space. I never know whether I shall fall on my feet.""You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea."28 "One never knows what one is going to do. One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite else. It is remarkable how little the 'willing' of the artist intervenes." "With an enigmatic smile he told me that he himself never knew what was coming next, nor did he try to interpret what he had done. 'That is for others to do if they wish,'" "If I paint as many canvas as I do, it is because I am searching for spontaneity, and when I have expressed a thing with a degree of happiness I no longer have the courage to add anything at all... "28-31 "Unfinished, a picture remains alive, dangerous. A finished work is a dead work, killed." 38

"It is not after nature I'm painting, but before nature, with it.""Through art we express our conception of what nature is not."

"I insist on likeness, a more profound likeness, more real than the real, achieving the surreal. "

"Actually it isn't anything more than a question of signs. It's an established convention, we communicate by the use of these signs. "

"We are not merely the executors of our work; we live our work.""work is a necessity for man.""Where do i get this power of creating and forming? I don't know. I have only one thought: work.""I paint just as I breathe. When I work, I relax; not doing anything or entertaining visitors makes me tired. It's still often 3:00 am. when I switch off my light." pp.49 "I am interested only in the painter's work because, thanks to it, I can see him and I am certain that the poor devil put all his five senses into producing it."p54


****"Actually, everything depends on oneself. It's the sun in the belly with a million rays. The rest is nothing. It's only for that reason that Matisse is Matisse--it's because he carries the sun in his belly. And its also the reason why, from time to time, something happens. The oeuvre one creates is a form of diary." pp.45 A great poet has to be a great poem. 

"It is not a reality you take in your hand. It's more like a perfume--in front you, behind you, to the sides. The scent is everywhere, but you don't quite know where it comes from."155 

"this bull is a bull and this horse is a horse."155

"A master should be free by instinct and be able to break the chain of rules even at the peril of his life. Michelangelo, I love to get lost in his work as in a rich and powerful mountain."

"Las Meninas, what a picture! What realism! There you have the true painter of reality."

"The truthfulness of Roman art-- it's like their buildings, utilitarian but all the more beautiful in their genuine simplicity." 170

"Picasso on Art: A Selection of Views, Dore Ashton