Clyfford Still Quotes
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I felt it necessary to evolve entirely new concepts (of form and space and paintings) and postulate them in an instrument that could continue to shake itself free from dialectical perversions. The dominant ones, Cubism and Expressionism, only reflected the attitudes of power or spiritual debasement of the individual.
As for 'taste' as a criterion of painting I find that it is most frequently applied to work that is essentially insensitive, brutal or vulgar beyond question. Could it now be a term with political undertones to seduce, or cover profounder motives of exploitation? I propose it be kept to the wine cellar. There it deceives no one but him who over-indulges.
I held it imperative to evolve an instrument of thought which would aid in cutting through all cultural opiates, past and present, so that a direct, immediate, and truly free vision could be achieved, and an idea be revealed with clarity. To acquire such an instrument, however... demanded full resolution of the past, and present through it. No shouting about individualism, no capering before an expanse of canvas, no manipulation of academic conceits or technical fetishes can truly liberate..
The observer usually will see what his fears and hopes and learning teach him to see. But if he can escape these demands that hold up a mirror to himself, then perhaps some of the implications of the work may be felt. But whatever is seen of felt it should be remembered that for me these paintings had to be something else. It is the price one has to pay for clarity when one's means are honoured only as an instrument of seduction or assault.