'Come, my friends!' I said. 'Let us go! At last Mythology and the mystic cult of the ideal have been left behind. We are going to be present at the birth of the centaur and we shall soon see the first angels fly! We must break down the gates of life to test the bolts and the padlocks! Let us go!'
Somewhere I read that relations between sounds and objects, feelings and thoughts, develop by association; language attaches to and envelopes its referent without destroying or changing it—the way a cobweb catches a fly.
A little over forty years ago, Harold Rosenberg observed that contemporary painting and sculpture had transmogrified into what he called “a species of centaur— half art materials, half words,” a hybrid form in sharp contrast to the visual purity of the previous decade’s central artistic movement, Abstract Expressionism... Today, gallery spaces of the early twenty-first century remain populated by Rosenberg’s word-object centaurs. Once pressed into battle against the primacy of painting and sculpture, they have evolved into less warlike beasts, a menagerie of possibilities roaming through the expanded field. Like figures from Ovid, they exist frozen in midtransformation from one state to the next.
A version of an oft-told ancient Greek story concerns a contest between two renowned painters. Zeuxis (born around 464 BC) produced a still life painting so convincing that birds flew down to peck at the painted grapes. A rival, Parrhasius, asked Zeuxis to judge one of his paintings that was behind a pair of tattered curtains in his study. Parrhasius asked Zeuxis to pull back the curtains, but when Zeuxis tried, he could not, as the curtains were included in Parrhasius's painting—making Parrhasius the winner.