Marshall Blonsky: I interviewed a director of a gallery recently who said the age that we live in, the post-modern, is so constructed with artifice and messages coming from media that we’ve lost contact with our feelings and have lost interest in anything like nature, the sublime. In some sense then, you’re opposed to this state of affairs.
Alexander Liberman: I am. It’s really art against nature, to a certain point. The sublime used to be vested in nature, and I think now it can be vested in art—but more than that, great art needs passion.
MB: So obviously you would not accept the so-called Post-Modern condition.
AL: It’s tradition and at the same time a revolt against it that still governs my creative thinking.
MB: How do you think of that tradition in relation to mysticism?
AL: Well, for me it’s mysterious and unexplainable. I think many religions have tried to explain too much. I am afraid of the word sublime—for the artist it does not consciously exist—it can only be an unacknowledged aspiration of his inner being. There is a thirst for the sublime that, in my opinion, is closer to that tradition, which involved a relationship with God, with no intermediaries. I think an artist needs this.
—Bomb 16/Summer 1986