The Empty Canvas

The Empty Canvas

The Empty Canvas

The Empty Canvas

Excerpt

I remember perfectly well how it was that I stopped painting. One evening, after I had been in my studio for eight hours, painting for five or ten minutes at a time and then throwing myself down on the divan and lying there flat, staring up at the ceiling for an hour or two-- all of a sudden, as though at last after so many feeble attempts I had had a genuine inspiration, I stubbed out my last cigarette in an ashtray already full of dead cigarette butts, leaped cat-like from the armchair into which I had sunk, seized hold of a small palette knife which I sometimes used for scraping off colors and slashed repeatedly at the canvas on which I had been painting, not content until I had reduced it to ribbons. Then from a corner of the room I took a blank canvas of the same size, threw away the torn canvas and placed the new one on the easel. Immediately afterward, however, I realized that the whole of my--shall I say creative?-- energy had been vented completely in my furious and fundamentally rational gesture of destruction. I had been working on that canvas for the last two months, doggedly and without pause; slashing it to ribbons with a knife was equivalent, fundamentally, to finishing it--in a negative manner, perhaps, as regards external results, which in any case had little interest for . . .

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