I now have one of the five artists books that I made in The Tate Gallery special archive of artists books along with all the other artists books that artists have made and The Tate Gallery have acquired and thought worthy to add through their history.
I decided to add some quotes I love, like, find funny and or express ideas I like, some I used in my art book about my work. As a friend recently asked me to put together a book list of books I have read and would recommend. As with the quotes I have generally read the whole books from where the quotes come from.
"Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend"
SOCRATES: THE TEST OF THREE
In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”
“Test of Three?”
“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really…”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more…
"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music."
“A life built on lies is a lie and one of the many things I have found out about myself. Is I cannot live a lie.“
"I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
George Bernard Shaw
"A true friend stabs you in the front."
"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so"
"Ignorance more frequently engenders confidence than knowledge"
"Words are all we have."
“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”
Gabriel García Márquez
"If relationships were as simple as beauty and love then all of mine would have been immortal."
"What does it matter how many lovers you have if none of them gives you the universe ?"
"We have dreamt of every woman there is, and dreamt too of the miracle that would bring us the pleasure of being a woman, for women have all the qualities -- courage, passion, the capacity to love, cunning -- whereas all our imagination can do is naively pile up the illusion of courage."
“Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.”
"Those who fail to re-read are obliged to read the same story everywhere."
"What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one's existence as a full human being and one's existence as a sexual being—while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up. Normally we don't experience, at least don't want to experience, our sexual fulfillment as distinct from or opposed to our personal fulfillment. But perhaps in part they are distinct, whether we like it or not."
"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma,
a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own
mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
“Albeit the jealous temper of mankind, ever more disposed to censure than to praise the work of others, has constantly made the pursuit of new methods and systems no less perilous than the search after unknown lands and seas; nevertheless, prompted by that desire which nature has implanted in me, fearlessly to undertake whatsoever I think offers a common benefit to all, I enter on a path which, being hitherto untrodden by any, though it involve me in trouble and fatigue, may yet win me thanks from those who judge my efforts in a friendly spirit. And although my feeble discernment, my slender experience of current affairs, and imperfect knowledge of ancient events, render these efforts of mine defective and of no great utility, they may at least open the way to some other, who, with better parts and sounder reasoning and judgment, shall carry out my design; whereby, if I gain no credit, at all events I ought to incur no blame.”
“Simplicity is what is most difficult in the world; it is the last stage of experience and the first effort of genius.”
"Travelling is putting one foot in front of the other"
“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them."
"It is not the figure of seduction that is mysterious, but that of the subject tormented by his own desire or his own image."
"Once one is caught up into the material world not one person in ten thousand finds the time to form literary taste, to examine the validity of philosophic concepts for himself, or to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life."
F Scott Fiztgerald from a letter to his daughter
"I was assailed by memories of a life that wasn't mine anymore, but one in which I'd found the simplest and most lasting joys."
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
“When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything.”
“On the first reading we see that which we already know.
On the second reading we begin to realise there is that which we have not seen and not known before.
On the third reading we begin to learn some ‘other’ than we had seen or known.”
"The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.
The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.....
....Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself."
“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything…”
George Bernard Shaw
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”
Hunter S. Thompson
"I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms. What I touch, what resists me — that I understand. And these two certainties — my appetite for the absolute and for unity and the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle — I also know that I cannot reconcile them."
"For the signifier is a unit in its very uniqueness, being by nature symbol only of an absence."
"Hell is other people"
"Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future."
"Speak so I can hear, but remember to listen."
“Every era has to reinvent the project of “spirituality” for itself. (Spirituality = plans, terminologies, ideas of deportment aimed at resolving the painful structural contradictions inherent in the human situation, at the completion of human consciousness, at transcendence.)
In the modern era, one of the most active metaphors for the spiritual project is “art.” The activities of the painter, the musician, the poet, the dancer, once they were grouped together under that generic name (a relatively recent move), have proved a particularly adaptable site on which to stage the formal dramas besetting consciousness, each individual work of art being a more or less astute paradigm for regulating or reconciling these contradictions. Of course, the site needs continual refurbishing. Whatever goal is set for art eventually proves restrictive, matched against the widest goals of consciousness. Art, itself a form of mystification, endures a succession of crises of demystification;”
"Didn't we dream of some kind of acceleration of the mind, where the mind accelerated & the world slowed. Now we have to live in a world where culture is accelerated to the point meaningless, constant repetitious cycles ever faster, and people wonder why they are lost, why they struggle to make meaning out of meaningless..."
“I would define the poetic effect as the capacity that
a text displays for continuing to generate different readings,
without ever being completely consumed.”
"Le succès est la meilleure vengeance ( Success is the best revenge.)"
'I can't go on, I'll go on."
"To have a fascination with things, of odysseys,
swimming in oceans of possibilities,
making concrete ideas manifesting dreams of thought & being,
walking in imaginary impossible places,
visiting invisible cities making meaning from nothingness,
walking in the rain."
"The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth"
(I will comment on this quote as it always reminds me apart from the quote itself and its meaning; that the person so associted with modern day genius, 'Einstein' and 'Genius' are inseperable, but also that sweet grandfatherly man, would and did speak out with what might seem harsh words, though perceptively, sincerely and honestly.)
"Gaily bedight, A gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song, In search of Eldorado.
But he grew old— This knight so bold— And o’er his heart a shadow— Fell as he found No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.
And, as his strength Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow— ‘Shadow,’ said he, ‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’
‘Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride,’ The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’ "
Edgar Allan Poe
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
"Palm leaf fires in the Sinai Peninsula,
laying in the desert sands listening to the surf roll in,
in the middle of nowhere, staring into the night sky,
until you fall into the stars, disoriented and whirled away,
an infinitesimal & insignificant dust mote,
laying on a rock hurtling through space,
of absolutely no consequence,
what a beautiful feeling, what a beautiful memory,"
McCoy: “Perhaps, we could cover a little philosophical ground. Life”
McCoy: “Things of that nature.”
Spock: “I did not have time on Vulcan to review the philosophical disciplines.”
McCoy: “C’mon, Spock, it's me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man's gone before. Can't you tell me what it felt like ?”
Spock: “It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.”
McCoy: “You're joking!”
Spock: “A joke… is a story with a humorous climax.”
McCoy: “You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death ?”
from the film;
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Is one of my ideas for a video art installation piece as well.
The idea to use for a video art installation piece Russell Hand © ®
Obviously with the copyright owners permission
Hope this is OK quoting from the film if not get in touch.
“I think; therefore I am”
"I shop therefore I am"
An beautiful play on Descartes thought.
Barbara Kruger is a contempory artist and writer. Her simple substitution of a word in the quote of Descartes; brilliant. People shop instead of think ? A critical engagement with our culture/s and times.
I am not a huge Shakespeare fan but like some of his soliloquies, particularly this one,
I have liked since I was very young and first read it.
When the main character is beset, by the deceptive, the base, the ignorant, the lying,
the stupid of the world.
A noble spirit beset by evil.
"Lies are strange things, me for much of my life I have thought that when someone lies; in a relationship, lovers, in a friendship, political leaders, all circumstances really, lies, misinformation, disinformation they take away your freedom to chose freely. Because if you chose something based on lies; love, friendship, politics what choice is that really."
"Actually my ideal piece of sculpture is a road."
by Carl Andre
I have only spoken t Carl Andre once, he asked me what I did, 'I said I am one of those terrible British installation artists', he waved his arm at his work/art as we were at his show, I then said; I know you are one of those terrible American ones.' We both started laughing, an artist with a sense of humour. Though he is a minimalist, reductionalist, alchemist, and I am a conceptual artists, we both have an understanding and love for the language of materials and both have a sense of humour.
"In Europe an actor is an artist. In Hollywood, if he isn't working, he's a bum."
"Who the fuck would want to be a genius, it would be as bad as being famous or worse."
The blazes raining in gusts of frost.
fires in the rain from the wind of diamonds hurled out by the earthly heart,
charred for us. – O world! –
(Far from the old retreats and the old flames, that you hear and feel,)
The blazes and foams.
The music, churnings of gulfs and the shock of icicles on the stars.”
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze..."
"The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earths old and weary cry.
And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the worlds mournful tears,
And all the trouble of her labouring ships,
And all the trouble of her myriad tears..."
William Butler Yeats
"...Starry sky, and the stars chime like crystals,
shatter and fall in whirls of star dust through the moonbeams,
and Helios furnace blasts and sends me kisses from the sun,
and Selene caresses gently with her moonlight,
as I cross the desert sands..."
"...Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass..."
T S Eliot
"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public
to be the most anxious for its welfare..."
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one..."
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
“A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate,
because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
"I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all."
“Never hurt a woman's vanity, they will do or say anything for revenge, irrespective of the truth.”
“Stronger than lover's love is lover's hate.
Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Oscar Wilde
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
Henry Thomas Buckle
To be continued...
Obviously all quotes are © of their authors as are the quotes from myself © ® Russell Hand
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