The conviction that painting is the right profession grows stronger and stronger in me. Writing is the only other thing I still feel attracted to. -Paul Klee


    Artists’ predilection for writing: Anne Truitt

    …sitting up in bed every morning and writing for as long a time as seemed right. The only limitation I set was to let the artist speak. My hope was that if I did this honestly I would discover how to see myself from a perspective that would render myself whole in my own eyes…

    The pain of poets seems to me unmitigated. They are denied the physical activity of studio work, which in itself makes a supportive context for thought and feeling. In my twenties, when I was writing poetry steadily, I heard words at a high pitch. On the deep, full notes of three-dimensional form, demanding for its realization the physical commitment of my whole body, I floated into spaciousness. Using all my faculties, I could plumb deeper, without sinking forever. Poetry was drawn out of my life, pulled out into lines. Sculpture is not. The works stand as I stand; they keep me company. I realize this clearly here because I miss them. I brought only table sculptures with me. In making my work, I make what comforts me and is home for me.


    Truitt, Anne. Daybook: The Journal of an Artist . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

    Truitt, A., & Niffenegger, A. (2013). Daybook the journal of an artist. New York, N.Y: Scribner.

    photo source


    Anouk De Clercq: when artists write

    There is the room of the author and there is the room of the reader. Somewhere in between those rooms, things happen: an encounter somewhere between the lines, in that in-between space. There is a correspondence between inside and outside, between here and there, between me and other (VII)

    Artist, Anouk De Clercq (2011)

    Note a Day Without a Line, Helena De Preester, 2013

    image: Thing, still from video, 2013 © Anouk De Clercq,


    why write: Gary Indiana — clarifying questions, scrambling for survival

    why write and thoughts on writing? Gary Indiana

    photo: Hedi El Kholti

    I didn’t know what I was writing or why I was writing it until I’d worked on it for a couple of years; it was a fumbling process of clarifying certain questions I’d always had in my brain, and maybe answering a few, first of all…

    I didn’t expect to write about my friendship with…

    Writing about it freed me from certain myths I’d spun around that friendship for years.

    ….scrambling for survival the whole time by writing journalism.

    …Writing is as much about withholding as it is about telling.

    …I wanted to refine it, and focus on things that meant something, or could mean something by writing about them.

    …I don’t identify with the image of the writer or the artist as a person tortured by an urgent need to express something. It’s actually quite arbitrary whether you express something or not.

    source: an interview

    Interview with Gary Indiana


    why write: jenny holzer — be of use, understandable content

    Why Write? Jenny Holzer:

    jenny holzer (
    (image: tate)

    ‘I wanted to see if I could make anything that would be of use to or have some kind of meaning for a general audience, people on their way to lunch who didn’t care anything about art.’

    source: Goodman gallery bio

    “With the Truisms, and subsequently the Inflammatory Essays and some other series, I had to assume a number of very different identities to be able to write them properly – especially since I am not really a writer. I have to use every tool available to me to make the text convincing”

    “The purpose of writing so many distinct points of view was to question, ‘What do you do when these things are all around and there are individuals fervently saying each?’”


    I used language because I wanted to offer content that people—not necessarily art people—could understand. Jenny Holzer


    photo: Amanda Demme

    KK thoughts.

    1. example of a) expressive writing, b) perspective-shifting/psychological distancing (see Pennebaker, James).
    2. trope (see Goddard, Linda) of I am not a writer

    “I am writing for the same reason I am making art”

    Donald Judd Writings (pg 446)

    7 Dec 1986

    In order to write freely I’m going to say what I want and then if published ask a lawyer to delete the dangerous (liable) parts, leaving spaces which can be filled later…

    Primarily I’m writing for the same reasons I make art; from uneasiness at not doing it, because I like to write, and because I want something to read, as Barnett Newman said he painted so as to have something to look at.


    James Bridle [why artists write–when we write, we reconfigure the world.]

    I got a Master’s degree in Computer Science by writing language rather than code – I didn’t submit any code in fact, I was terrible at programming. But I could write about it, I understood it, and I understood that both forms of writing were about thinking through problems, processing, building a framework and shaping information. Or, perhaps, both were about tone, transcendence and revelation. Which is why I went into publishing, and was terrible at editing too, but continued a love affair with language and meaning as texture and material. It took many years for my own writing to emerge from beneath the slush pile, which is what publishers call the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts received daily from hopeful writers. There are already a lot of words in the world; sometimes it’s better not to add any more. Or if you do, it had better be worth it. I came back to writing as a way of thinking and of thinking through, of occupying the space between things, and opening them up again. …

    Writing, more visibly and unquestionably today than ever, is inherently networked. It begins and remains connected to its subject, and to everything else, becoming part of it. It acts. It does work. It lives. When we write, we reconfigure the world.

    — James Bridle, 2016



    Xu Bing [why artists write: a case of transference]

    Xu Bing 2006 excerpt from An Artist’s View

    I began working on Book from the Sky at a time when I was constantly in a very anxious and confused mood. This mood was related to the “cultural fever” that was present at the time in China. Culturally, Chinese people were sometimes overfed and at other times underfed. For example, during the Cultural Revolution (1966—1976) the whole nation read only Chairman Mao’s Red Book. After the Cultural Revolution ended, people were starved for culture and consumed everything available. During this time I read so much and participated in so many cultural activities that my mind was in a state of chaos. My psyche had been clogged with all sorts of random things. I felt uncomfortable, like a person suffering from starvation who had just gorged himself. It was at that point that I considered creating a book that would clean out these feelings. Looking back, the process of creating Book from the Sky helped to clear my head of these discomforts, but the work itself only created more confusion.

    People have so many perspectives on Book from the Sky because the work itself is empty. The work does not present any clear message. I very seriously labored for years on something that says nothing. The seriousness I devoted to this work is important to both the artwork itself as well as myself psychologically. By being completely serious to the degree of earnestly believing the pretense as real, true absurdity emerges, and the power of the art is enhanced.

    I used every possible method to force people to believe in the legitimacy of this work, while at the same time extracting all content completely.

    Image: image Xu Bing, still video 1994 “A case of transference”