In the end?

Perhaps the most subtle instant of artistic insight: knowing when the work is complete. Knowing a thing is done is always a decision, a superego injunction to believe, to accept; art lives precisely in this deception, that it is possible to be told what to believe, or put another way, that we can ever know what other people actually want from us. What is the terminating stroke if not precisely the final "cutting" of the art-work out of its particular mode of being into the "universal," the work of art: a subtraction which makes whole. This point bears elaboration. From what is the sculpture subtracted? The raw materials of artistic production. From what is the work of art subtracted? From the artistic universal-- and we can think this in two ways, either as the "sublime" moment of deep sensitivity to the beauty of the universe, or as the universal artistic indeal, that unabashedly subjective universal; in fact, we can also conceive of this "from-what" of the work of art as the "universe" of the painting, that non-existent/empty reality in which the inversions and distortions of the artistic presentation are finally placed into a bizarre-enough context to make sense. So the art work betrays a lack, a cut which would otherwise go unnoticed, precisely by disguising it; yet there is no lack at all. Art persists in this lie as a stain, a horizon: an untameable pulse oscillating in the deep empty void of an (otherwise) still and silent universe.

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