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"I want to ask you a question," Sonnabend says, "if you are creating yourself as you painted your picture?" In other words: Does a human being's dynamic experience create life's meaning? Or, does human life already have a meaningful essence?via LR fb
De Kooning greets this existential inquiry with genial aplomb, before waving it away like a bothersome housefly. A common question in the period's critical discourse, it is clearly one whose answer he has recited many times.
"Everything is already in art," the painter gently demurs. "Like a big bowl of soup. Everything is in there already, and you stick your hand in and you find something for you."
"Like a big bowl of soup." De Kooning is talking the way artists talk among themselves, not the way critics, curators, theoreticians or historians write about art — and not even the way artists describe their practice on formal occasions. In the intimate environment of his studio, among fellow painters and friends, the high-flown existential mysteries and profound philosophical dramas of painting are handily reduced to soup.