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Karel Appel

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The duty of the artist is not to be calculating in any sense, so that he may be free himself of human emotions while carried by the universal forces of life. Only then does one not think about making art, or about styles, or directions. Something comes about, something happens.
--
“Karel Appel – the complete sculptures”, eds. Harry de Visser / Roland Hagenberg, Edition Lafayette, New York 1990

 
Karel Appel

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In his effort toward revivification of this sense [the sense for great art], the modern artist has not infrequently retired into himself; he has accepted isolation or even alienation. … Sometimes the good has to go underground. … The “revolutionary” artist … has had the aim of saving himself from the surrounding forces of sentimentality and vulgarity. … It is impossible to make a deal with these forces, and we should not be surprised if in striking back the artist has done so in ways even intended to be offensive. He has sometimes shown defiance and contempt toward those who would deny his level of seriousness.

 
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I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn. Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles—which can only destroy and never create—is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace. I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war—and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

 
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If heat were the affecting force, direct indications of its presence could be found which would not make use of geometry as an indirect method. ...direct evidence for the presence of heat is based on the fact that it affects different materials in different ways. ...The forces... which we have introduced... have two properties: (a) They affect all materials in the same way. (b) There are no insulating [or isolating] walls. ...the definition of the insulating wall may be added here: it is a covering made of any kind of material which does not act upon the enclosed object with forces having property a. Let us call the forces which have the properties a and b universal forces; all other forces are called differential forces. Then it can be said that differential forces, but not universal forces, are directly demonstrable.

 
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I will say what there is to say: I place the Republic before France. France is ourselves. The Republic is ourselves and the others. The general welfare must be put much higher than national welfare, because it is much higher.

 
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