Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ron Buffington On Strategy

We learn from Wittgenstein that "one cannot obey a rule privately." If painting can be thought of as a game, there are undoubtedly rules that ensure fair play. Painting’s rules, like that of any game, serve two purposes: to prohibit certain actions; and to permit certain others. Painting is unique among games only to the extent that it requires the player to amend the rules of play. In other words, to make an object that counts as a painting, the painter must both follow extant rules and invent new rules. Moreover, the painter attains significance as a player of the game only by making an important contribution to the rule book.

I’ve always been interested in games; in discovering rules and honoring them; in following them closely; in fully inhabiting them. At the same time, I’ve always enjoyed modifying the rules of a game, not in entirely abandoning proscriptions but in exploring the way the game is impacted by a subtle shift in the rules. Painting provides precisely this opportunity to reinvent play.

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