Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm working on a necklace this weekend-- a big, elaborate affair it's going to be, hopefully it will be an example of what I imagine myself to be capable of. The tiles are an assortment of trapezoids, very asymmetrical overall. I'm going to mosaic it. I just need to find the right text. So I'm reading some more Chekov today, trying to find the right bit. Found a collection of his letters, some good bits there. Probably not itself something I'd put on jewelry, but this section really struck me:

An artist observes, selects, guesses, combines--and this in itself presupposes a problem: unless he had set himself a problem from the very first there would be nothing to conjecture and nothing to select. (...) You are right in demanding that an artist should take an intelligent attitude to his work, but you confuse two things: _solving a problem_ and _stating a problem correctly_. It is only the second that is obligatory for the artist.

For a while now I've fancied the notion that I should have a sort of research question for my work-- call it a little leftover conceit from all my academic dabblings-- and it tickles me to find that Anton Chekov beat me to the idea by 120 years. (There are probably a whole host of artists who have done so, I realize-- but this is the first quote I happen to have come across that speaks to the notion directly).

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