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In the voluminous and unsystematic notebooks that the artist Sam Francis kept throughout his life, an array of highly introspective and short writings appear alongside his records of dreams, lists of paints to be prepared, possible titles for paintings, quotations from books being read, and reminders about the minutiae of the day.
Sam Francis did not craft these short stanzas and phrases of self-examination as fixed literary objects. Impossible to categorize within any single genre, they are thoughts that needed to be written down for the most personal of reasons. Like the unfixed and contradictory region of interiority itself, the mode of expression is both precise and elliptical, abbreviated but utterly expansive. The method and the temper reflect his love of the poetry of Holderlin, the psychic cosmology of Jung, the fragments of Heraclitus, and the writings of Nietzsche and of William Blake, especially their most aphoristic works.
These writings reveal a temperament that was inventive in the extreme, convinced that the action of creating should never be confined merely to a canvas but be incorporated within every aspect of living.
The edition is illustrated with Sam Francis's rarely reproduced self-portraits and mandalas, which he used as interconnected modes of personal reflection and generation. The book concludes with an afterword by Pontus Hulten.
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