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On Not Knowing: How Artists Think


The value of ‘not knowing’ has its roots in the very beginnings of western philosophy, in what is sometimes known as the Socratic paradox: “when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know."(Plato 44). On Not Knowing brings together contemporary artists and thinkers from a range of disciplines to explore the role of ‘not knowing’ within the creative process.

How far does our openness to aesthetic experience, and new forms of knowledge, depend on our capacity to enter and indulge states of wonder and awe, doubt and failure, ignorance and play? How critical are these conditions to the creative process? How do artists invite the unknown into their creative practice? What role does the artist’s studio play in this process?

Bringing together theoretical discussion and examples of contemporary artistic practice, this book explores how artists formulate strategies of not knowing and ‘play’ within their decision making process and how such approaches might inform and enrich our encounters with art.

This volume is an important contribution to debates around the creative process and puts the artist’s voice at the heart of these discussions.

Contributors include: Dennis Atkinson, Sonia Boyce, Phyllida Barlow, Emma Cocker, Sarah Cole, Cornford and Cross, Elizabeth Fisher, Rebecca Fortnum, Rachel E Jones, Gary Peters, Jyrki Siukonen, Andrew Warstat, Neal White.

ISBN 978-1-908966-29-2
Size: 230 x 280mm
Spine: 14mm
160 pages