essay

by R.C. Vrij, May 6, 2020

By using quotations as a tool, Rosa Vrij explores tradition and originality in art and writing, both in form and content. This essay was written during the Master in Theatre at the Institute of Performative Arts in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

‘In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence.’[1] ‘Conventions represent the continuing adjustment of the cooperating parties to the changing conditions in which they practice; as conditions change, they change.’[2] ‘the emergence of a new style is marked by an incessant process of rupture, as each new piece simultaneously situates itself in an already-formed style and tears itself free of that style.’[3] ‘As’[4] ‘Warnke puts it: ‘Thus for Gadamar, Vico’s formula entails that we understand history not simply because we make it, but also because it has made us; we belong to it in the sense that we inherit its experience, project a future on the basis of the situation the past has created for us, and act in light of our understanding of this past whether such understanding is explicit or not.’[5] ‘No poet, no artist of any art has his [their] complete meaning alone. His [Their] significance, his [their] appreciation is the appreciator of his [their] relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value

him [them] alone; you must set him [them], for contrast and comparison, among the dead.’[6] ‘Sometimes the art world relies on conventions of the art itself, but ones which everyone has experienced so early and so often that they are as much part of the culture.’[7] ‘For example’[8] ‘her photo of a reclining man’s genitals, penis erect. It’s a riff on Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine Du Monde (The Origin of the World), depicting a woman’s genitals. Orlan calls her version The Origin of War.’[9] ‘In other words’[10] ‘To see something as art requires something the eye cannot decry-an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.’[11] ‘at the one hypothetical extreme, the original meaning of the quotation can be unimpaired; at the other, the quotation can be totally stripped of its original meaning.’[translated by author][12] ‘Hamlet and Socrates, though in praise and deprecation respectively, spoke of art as a mirror held up to nature. Socrates saw mirrors as but reflecting what we can already see; so art,

1/4


1 “TRADITION AND THE INDIVIDUAL TALENT” (1919) T. S. Eliot
2 Becker, H. S. (2008). Art worlds. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
3 Ballantine, C. (1979). Charles Ives and the Meaning of Quotation in Music. The Musical Quarterly, LXV(2), 167- 184. doi:10.1093/mq/lxv.2.167
4 DRUCKER, J. O. H. A. N. N. A. (2018). Diagrammatic Writing. SANTA MONICA: RAM PUBLICATIONS.
5 Frampton, K. (1995). Studies in tectonic culture (J. Cava, Ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
6 Eliot, T. S. (1919). TRADITION AND THE INDIVIDUAL TALENT.

7 Becker, H. S. (2008). Art worlds. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
8 Woolf, V. (2019). The waves. London: Penguin Classics.
9 Jeffries, S. (2009, July 01). Orlan’s art of sex and surgery. Retrieved October 28, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/jul/01/orlan-performance-artist-carnal-art
10 Adcock, C. E., & Turrell, J. (1990). James Turrell: the art of light and space. Berkeley: University of California Press.
11 Danto, A. (1964). The Artworld. The Journal of Philosophy, 61(19), 571. doi:10.2307/2022937
12 Ballantine, C. (1979). Charles Ives and the Meaning of Quotation in Music. The Musical Quarterly, LXV(2), 167-184.doi:10.1093/mq/lxv.2.167
Data protection
, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), processes personal data only to the extent strictly necessary for the operation of this website. All details in the privacy policy.
Data protection
, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), processes personal data only to the extent strictly necessary for the operation of this website. All details in the privacy policy.