To Keep Alive Uncertainty
From Black Eggs number one Autumn 1971

Heinz Henghes in France summer 1973

During a recent exhibition of my sculptures in London, when asked to "explain" my work I stated that my work is concerned with the sense of Man in Nature and Nature in Man. This sentence... is well rounded out and sonorous and is also the kind of mystifying phrasing to which artists, when they are elderly and more or less successful are prone.

Think of Renoir.... "in order to be able to paint one must throw oneself into the water without being able to swim..."
Brancusi, who, while fingering his tri-coloured beard said to me.., "young man, never do anything you don't want to do..."
Ezra Pound, who, over a game of chess let fall "never explain what you have stated" when I was whaffling about what I thought I had tried to do in a recent sculpture. Tried to's always like that... in the end we live on something that, for all our vast terminology and elaborate terms of reference deals with things which are on another plane than is anything we can ever phrase through reason.

"Reason is born of failure..." is a quotation from a book whose title I have forgotten. "The mind is a steaming pudding in which confusion is ordered into chaos" is a quotation from some of my infant writing. "The sense of man in nature" which is meant to read Man-in-Nature simply means to me that vast world of the senses (rather than the mind) in which I live. As a sculptor, it is probably natural and certainly natural to me that everything is in some way tactile to me, including even feeling through my eyes as with my hands.

Yet, I have often enough asked myself what I really mean by this word - "senses" and particularly when I have found myself in a state of sensuous enjoyment over some geometric concept or mathematical formula or philosophical structure. Mathematicians among themselves refer to a well expressed formula as "elegant-" meaning beautiful in an aesthetic sense.

I am simply incapable of "explaining" my work. I am equally incapable of explaining precisely what I mean by "Nature-in Man-and Man-in Nature" except on the basis of this sense that art is made for and by man and that man is not primarily a social animal. Society exists and is shaped by man to his orientations for the purpose of finding a way to a satisfactory life. And that statement, when written down, is so obvious a statement that it sounds banal. Yet- haw easy to differ with it.

Let us say that I have made a choice. What I feel and sense I can translate into sculpture which is a positive statement of its own context. What I think, I can forever use to keep alive uncertainty.

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