Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

The authentic Individual is not imprisoned by his past, but rather by his becoming. He is not afraid of being confronted with those apparent contradictions thought up by impotent imbeciles - people who never have taken a step because they are afraid of making one of the magisterial faux-pas that, for those who work in the aura of high adventure, serve rather as springboards for the leap.

The key to the work of men such as these becomes, then, if not the finished painting, at least the ultimate painting; the alchemist wins that name only when he has found his philosopher's stone, and not from the decay of life that had to precede it - which the idiots will certainly pounce on, thinking they have finally found the weak spot they need to blackmail into conformity someone whose very existence is a challenge to the

apparent presence and not less apparent necessity of their vast herd. Art and universal suffrage are at opposite poles.

From A New Beyond by Michel Tapie, 1952. Trans: Jerrold Lanes from Arts Yearbook 3, ed Hilton Kramer (New York: Art Digest, 1959)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.

See next Monday's Independent for reader offers.

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