Sunday, February 18, 2007

Signs of Art . . .

“Learning is essentially concerned with signs. Signs are the objects of a temporal apprenticeship, not of an abstract knowledge. To learn is first of all to consider a substance, an object, a being as if it emitted signs to be deciphered, interpreted. . . . Vocation is always predestination with regard to signs. Everything that teaches us something emits signs; every act of learning is an interpretation of signs or hieroglyphs.”

“At the end of the Search, the interpreter understands what had escaped him . . . that the material meaning is nothing without an ideal essence that it incarnates. . . . Now the world of art is the ultimate world of signs, and these signs, as though dematerialized, find their meaning in an ideal essence. Henceforth, the world revealed by art reacts on all the others . . . it integrates them, colors them with an aesthetic meaning, and imbues what was still opaque about them. . . . This is why all the signs converge upon art; all apprenticeships, by the most diverse paths, are already unconscious apprenticeships to art itself. At the deepest level, the essential is in the signs of art.”

(Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs. Trans. Richard Howard)

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