The Art of Unfinished Art

If you explore books, quotes, articles about Art, you always meet the concept of “finished/unfinished“.

And this is what you find :

ONE

A whole lot of “simple” authors who seem to have common sense and think Art is like a normal part of society. They all say that a piece of Art must be finished :

  • “Never show unfinished work.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
  • “Behind unfinished art cries an unfinished artist.” – Terri Guillemets
  • “Finish the work, otherwise an unfinished work will finish you.” ― Amit Kalantri
  • “I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.” – Mary Oliver

This sounds very good, right? It’s very satisfying. Everything must be finished, otherwise the world goes to chaos…

TWO

Another whole lot of artists, of course, say the contrary. Suddenly it becomes interesting :

  • “I always believed that my work should be unfinished in the sense that I encourage people to add their creativity to it, either conceptually or physically.” – Yoko Ono
  • “When I’m playing, I’m never through. It’s unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That’s where the high comes in.” – Miles Davis
  • “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  • Put your energy into ‘finishing’ – and you’re missing your next great painting. (J.R. Baldini)
  • In talking about the necessity to finish a thing, we said American painters finish a thing that looks unfinished, and the French, they finish it. I have seen Matisses that were more unfinished and yet more finished than any American painters. Matisse was obviously in a terrific emotion at the time and he was more unfinished than finished. (William Baziotes)
  • I don’t like finished things, because finished is over, dead. (Norbert Bisky)
  • To the impressionist, the work was finished, no matter how casual the execution, when the idea was completely realized on the canvas. (Richard J. Boyle)
  • How do you complete a painting, really? There are paintings by so many different artists that are interesting precisely because they haven’t really been completed. (Peter Doig)

 

Many masterpieces are unfinished : symphonies and cathedrals, Proust “La Recherche”, but most of modernity artists and thinkers know that finishing a work is killing it, it masks the work, the soul…

I found dozens more quotes. Each one could lead to an article…

What do you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Cf Non Finito : Inchoateness in Art

 

 

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