Tuesday, July 22, 2008

challenging serenity

In Tran Anh Hung's quietly disturbing film, 'The Vertical Ray of the Sun' one of the characters, a photographer, speaks of seeking tranquility in his work. That sounds nice, doesn't it? Tranquility?

The American artist Wolf Kahn warns us to resist getting too serene though, saying: "The moment you know how to do certain things, you should stop doing them. you would be ceasing to search and starting to perform... your art will become an exercise in self-congratulation."

I think of this now as I push my work to new boundaries for me. I would love to have the process of creating be calmly satisfying. But I know I would get bored rather quickly without challenging myself.

And perhaps agonizing and uncertainty are inseparable from the satisfaction that comes of conquering difficulties.

Besides, tranquility sounds a little too much like tranquilized.

Oh, well.

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