morality was an aesthetic criterion: for Confucius, a work was
beautiful that taught one the good. In contrast, contemporary
art is floundering in various muddied formal objectives, and as
far as I can judge, in Europe the situation is the same. As if it
were possible to elevate, among the most fundamental factors
of these works, one of them — the aesthetic — and simply
renounce the others, the most essential: the criterion of morality.
In my opinion, this is partially the reason for the general trend
by which the readership of high literature has radically dropped.
And this is also the reason for poetry having lost its leading role.
So that, well, now I would simply finish what I have to say by
repeating, and emphasizing, that the work of the artist is to find
his own relation to his own culture. The artist of today should
be the same as they were in the days of old: in order to bring forth
their works, they must withdraw from the world, they must keep
a great distance from it and they must create a completely individual
way of life. An artist cannot be identical with a member of society.
His role, his significance is extraordinary — if he loses it, nothing
will come in its place."
XIAO HAI speaks with LASZLO KRASZNAHORAKI
Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens