40 to 49

40. “Absurd”

…nature of the absurd, which is that it is an experience to be lived through, a point of departure, the equivalent, in existence, of Descartes’s methodical doubt. The absurd is, in itself, contradiction.

– Albert Camus: ‘The Rebel, An Essay on Man in Revolt’, 1956

41. “Nausea”

The Nausea is not inside me: I feel it out there in the wall, in the suspenders, everywhere around me. It makes itself one with the café, I am the one who is within it.

– Jean Paul Satre: ‘Nausea’, 1938

Kermode admires in Sartre’s “La Nausee” the tension between paradigmatic form and contingent reality; but it seems to me clear that the viscous “reality” of “La Nausee” is just as much a fiction as any lies constructed in “bad faith,” although the former may be a fictive version of the world derived from the less explicit, probably unconscious perceptions of “order.” Are our fictions ever checked or qualified by anything but other fictions?

– Leo Bersani: ‘Variations On a Paradigm’, New York Times, 11 June 1967

42. “negativity, cold wind of nothing, blankness”

Only blankness, complete awareness, distinterestedness; the “artist-as-artist” only, of one and rational mind, “vacant and spiritual, empty and marvelous,” in symmetries and regularities only; the changeless “human content,” the timeless “supreme principle,” the ageless “universal formula” of art, nothing else.

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘Timeless in Asia’, Art News, January 1960


44. “Masters of voidness Flaubert, Melville, Mallarme”

Though he teaches Oriental art history (at Brooklyn and Hunter colleges), Reinhardt denies any undue Eastern influences on his purist pursuits. “Artists,” he says, “should have a kind of Malrauxian point of view, in which the whole history of art is known to and is part of them. Otherwise, they’re idiots, children” (his lip curls) “or romantics.”

– Grace Glueck: ‘Mr. Pure’,  New York Times, 13 November 1966

46. “Pervasive presence”

The ‘presence‘, ‘absence’ and ‘both’,

Of the probans in similar instances,

Combined with those if dissimilar instances,

There are three combinations in each of three.

The top and the bottom are valid,

The two sides are contradictory.

The four corners are inconclusive through being too broad,

The centre in inconclusive through being too narrow.

– R. S. Y. Chi: ‘The Treatise on the The Wheel of Reasons by Acārya Dignāga in ‘Buddhist Formal Logic’, Part 1, 1961