End of In Art
Robert Enoch, 2001
It is through desire that we know ourselves but in a world of solicitation we must develop a suspicious faculty, for if our desires themselves are not our own, then how can we be? Assuming we know ourselves we must each search for a life which is intuitively felt to be meaningful or else give up all claim to freedom and fall into line.
Beyond the wish to play my part in the social web I have an intense need to find my own way beyond social dictates. Following vague inclinations, ideas without known outcomes – nothing I can fully understand - I make notes and photographs and journeys. Beyond taste, beyond likes and dislikes, where the self is clarified as neither good nor bad. The act itself or the recognition of a symbol in an image, defined by its extraction from its environment: hooks and buoys, markers, clues and directions. This is not a search for ego’s sake, it is for the sake of believing that life is worthwhile. Caught between instinct and civilization, chaos and order, I find I am a mutation of the two. I seem to live in blasted earth where nothing can grow. I am a lost soul, stripped of persona. There is no way ‘back’ to infantile transparency, and there is no way in to the world of conformity; there is only the confused moment, the mutation that contaminates authenticity.
Caught between physical responsibility and this psychological survival, can there be life in Art? If not, then creativity represents nothing but another human game, just something to do to give us the impression we exist. But if there is life in Art, there may be hope.
Human existence, with its joys, fears and uncertainties, its great but incomplete wisdom, leads me in metaphysical or esoteric directions. Stuck between Heaven and Hell, unsure of either, with neither faith nor damnation to tell me who I am I cannot trust anything but my own ‘metaphysics’, my intuition. I don’t believe conscience can be fully trusted because it is so readily usurped by dogmatic ideas and so easily succumbs to insidious internalized persecution. The reason for adhering to principles is to gain favour with one’s conscience in the hope that it will result in psychic equilibrium; a coherent and reliable sense of self. But flattering one’s conscience with obedience comes at a cost. The homeostasis it brings can smother the instinct to evolve and the freedom to be.
Theoretical and philosophical endeavour is an attempt to make sense out of complexity and resolve conflicts in the hope of finding a better practical guide or ‘way of life’. Artistic activity is often a means to give expression to ideas not readily expressed in words and to divulge the conditions of self. It is here that I place my hope. A developed freedom of creative experience and adventure, an organic free will, not confined within any system; this is not a conclusion nor an arrival but it is a Way.