Saturday, 8 August 2009

Stealing the Mona Lisa

"Some people are incapable of being in the presence of a blank piece of paper without inscribing something on it. And sometimes the moments of doodling occur at quite precise times: when we are listening to someone rabbiting away on the phone and it would be impolite to terminate the conversation. Innocent as it may seem, the doodling is a sort of response to the invasiveness of the other's speech, a way of transcribing not their words but their intrusiveness. [...]

"The pressure in these cases is to make some sort of mark, suggesting that at those times when we have an experience of being overwhelmed, it is not simply a question of making sense of it, of giving it meaning, but just of making an inscription. Obviously, human beings respond to painful circumstances by trying to make narratives out of them, but this notion of inscription is much more archaic. It is less about making stories than than about making marks. Something can be fixed or arrested by making a mark, as we see, for example, in the feeling of relief sometimes experienced by 'self-harmers' after they have made a cut in their body surface."

-Darian Leader, Stealing the Mona Lisa: What Art Stops Us from Seeing

Co-written by Leader, with a cover drawing by David Shrigley:

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