From the Preface: The argument of this book ranges from highly theoretical speculations to highly topical problems of modern art and practical hints for the art teacher, and it is most unlikely that I can find a reader who will feel at home on every level of the argument. But fortunately this does not really matter. The principal ideas of the book ...
From the Preface: The argument of this book ranges from highly theoretical speculations to highly topical problems of modern art and practical hints for the art teacher, and it is most unlikely that I can find a reader who will feel at home on every level of the argument. But fortunately this does not really matter. The principal ideas of the book can be understood even if the reader follows only one of the many lines of the discussion. The other aspects merely add stereoscopic depth to the argument, but not really new substance. May I, then, ask the reader not to be irritated by the obscurity of some of the material, to take out from the book what appeals to him and leave the rest unread? In a way this kind of reading needs what I will call a syncretistic approach. Children can listen breathlessly to a tale of which they understand only little. In the words of William James they take 'flying leaps' over long stretches that elude their understanding and fasten on the few points that appeal to them. They are still able to profit from this incomplete understanding. This ability of understanding- and it is an ability may be due to their syncretistic capacity to comprehend a total structure rather than analysing single elements. Child art too goes for the total structure without bothering about analytic details. I myself seem to have preserved some of this ability. This enables me to read technical books with some profit even if I am not conversant with some of the technical terms. A reader who cannot take 'flying leaps' over portions of technical information which he cannot understand will become of necessity a rather narrow specialist. It is an advantage therefore to retain some of the child's syncretistic ability, in order to escape excessive specialization. This book is certainly not for the man who can digest his information only within a well-defined range of technical terms.A publisher's reader once objected to my lack of focus. What he meant was that the argument had a tendency to jump from high psychological theory to highly practical recipes for art teaching and the like; scientific jargon mixed with mundane everyday language. This kind of treatment may well appear chaotic to an orderly mind. Yet I feel quite unrepentant. I realize that the apparently chaotic and scattered structure of my writing fits the subject matter of this book, which deals with the deceptive chaos in art's vast substructure. There is a 'hidden order' in this chaos which only a properly attuned reader or art lover can grasp. All artistic structure is essentially 'polyphonic'; it evolves not in a single line of thought, but in several superimposed strands at once. Hence creativity requires a diffuse, scattered kind of attention that contradicts our normal logical habits of thinking. Is it too high a claim to say that the polyphonic argument of my book must be read with this creative type of attention? I do not think that a reader who wants to proceed on a single track will understand the complexity of art and creativity in general anyway. So why bother about him? Even the most persuasive and logical argument cannot make up for his lack of sensitivity. On the other hand I have reason to hope that a reader who is attuned to the hidden substructure of art will find no difficulty in following the diffuse and scattered structure of my exposition.There is of course an intrinsic order in the progress of the book. Like most thinking on depth-psychology it proceeds from the conscious surface to the deeper levels of the unconscious. The first chapters deal with familiar technical and professional problems of the artist. Gradually aspects move into view that defy this kind of rational analysis. For instance the plastic effects of painting (pictorial space) which are familiar to every artist and art lover tum out to be determined by deeply unconscious perceptions. They ultimately evade all conscious control. In this way a profound conflict between conscious and
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Fine. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 336 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white. Study in the Psychology of Artistic Imagination. In Stock. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Brand New, Perfect Condition, allow 4-14 business days for standard shipping. To Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. protectorate, P.O. box, and APO/FPO addresses allow 4-28 business days for Standard shipping. No expedited shipping. All orders placed with expedited shipping will be cancelled. Over 3, 000, 000 happy customers.
This is no easy read. But it is the single most important book on creativity. The depth mind views the world in a different way than the surface mind. Ehrenzweig tells the story of the mum with a horror mask, that doesn't frighten the infant. The infants mind perceive in a syncretistic way, while a mature child and an adult perceive from analysis. This is automatic, not a conscious choice. It comes from growth. The depth mind resembles the infant way of perception, while the surface mind perceive like an adult. Both the infant and the mature child can only see fragments of mums face behind the horror mask. The difference is that the infant see mum behind the mask and dont get frighten, while the mature child see the mask and get scared. This story is not a major theme in Ehrenzweig's book, but it gives you a hint of what the surface and the depth mind is in his theory of the hidden order.
Art requires a minimum surface fragmentation to "hook" the depth mind. The hidden order needs to be unravel by this depth mind, or art has no meaning. When the subconscious looks behind the veil(the surface harmony), it "sees" order in chaos and fragmentation.
Ehrenzweig's theory of the hidden order of art is in no way easy to understand. It takes time and energy, but foremost it requires your depth mind to activate. The book is in itself written with the hidden order in mind, and the fragmentation will assemble to meaning once you get past the surface mind. He is good writer, and the book gives you a feeling of unraveling something deep and spiritual.
Ehrenzweig died right after sending this manuscript to the publisher. He didn't live to see it in print. Marion Milner, another good writer within the same field, reviewed the manuscript before it got published.
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