Miguel Bosé, the great Spanish singer, once told a story about the time he used to spend, as a kid, with Pablo Picasso, who was a very close friend to both his mom and his dad, Lucía Bosé and Luis Miguel Dominguín. One afternoon (says Miguel), walking by the sea in Barcelona, the famous painter took a piece of paper and made an origami bird out of it; out of the blue, like that, a perfect and beautiful bird. Then he gave it to his young friend and asked him to destroy it right away, to destroy it “as good” as he could. Bosé had always heard his parents praise and celebrate Picasso’s art – and not only his parents, of course –, and hesitated instinctively for a moment, maybe he should keep that bird for him: keep it until it turned out to be the strangest and most valuable piece of art ever made by Picasso, who nevertheless insisted, and insisted, and insisted in his order with such a determination, that Bosé had no other option than to grasp the little bird and crush it with his hands until it was but a jumble of crumpled paper, nothing again. “You can only create when you know how to destroy; art is creation as much as destruction…”, said the master without any further remark, and kept walking with a smile on his face.
From all the criticism on and about and against and even by Picasso, I don’t think there’s a more revealing scene than that, extracted from a conversation he had with a pop singer that should be 13 or 14 years old at the time. But that scene, and its conclusive and enigmatic sentence, sums up just perfectly Picasso’s art: his ‘aesthetic theory’, if one may say so, his philosophy. That was certainly the force behind his paintings and his permanent vital search, and that was also the spirit that made him what he was within the History of Art: the port of arrival of the whole western pictorical tradition, its mouth (if you think of it as the river it was and still is and will always be), but the melting pot as well where that very same tradition was ‘deconstructed’ and reformulated and saved from exhaustion. In that sense, Picasso fulfilled with his art, rigorously and beautifully, that principle he would share with Miguel Bosé many years later. That principle, in other words, was a confession, a revelation, a declaration of the mystery behind his life and miracles.
Because art is always reflection: there’s no art without thinking—consciously or unconsciously—there’s no creation when there isn’t destruction: the understanding of how the world functions just to reinvent it anew. Just like that origami bird, its ashes are also its flight. That’s what I have found in this wonderful project called Entkunstung: a lot of reflection, a lot of reinvention of many problems related not only to aesthetic theory and art criticism but also to politics and sociology and history and life as a whole, “as a whole to be imagined”, as William Shakespeare once said. This book is a precious opportunity to revisit what Entkunstung has been doing, if you already knew it; or it is a fascinating door to discover its aims and conquests and aspirations as a project. Its incorruptible hope for the present, notwithstanding this horrible time in which we live. But that’s art too, isn’t it? A relief, a shelter, a justification of everything we stand for. Just read and enjoy, you won’t regret it. But if you do, so much the better.
—JUAN ESTEBAN CONSTAÍN CROCE