The Crater

German neo-expressionist painter Anselm Kiefer wrote the following, reflecting on the nature of creative work: “Painting, but also literature and all that goes with it, is merely a process of going round and round something inexpressible, round a black hole, or a crater, whose center one cannot penetrate. And those things one seizes as subject matter, they have merely the character of pebbles at the foot of the crater–they mark out a circle which, one hopes, draws ever closer to the center.”

From Kiefer’s statement, one can infer that creative work has by nature an element of blind and intuitive search, and also of organic connectivity among artistic manifestations: The individual elements (the “pebbles”), taken as a whole, do constitute the artist’s thematic and creative map–his or her worldview and understanding of life. Crater Publishers agrees with such an understanding of artistic and literary work.

Here is another expression of the same idea, coming from a completely different area of study: Leo Spitzer’s analysis of linguistic perspectivism in Don Quijote:

“Perhaps it is better not to break up the unit of a work of art into historical units … and, instead, to proceed according to a method by which one would seek to move from the periphery toward the center of the artistic globe–thus remaining within the work of art. Any one outward feature, when sufficiently followed up to the center, must yield us insight into the artistic whole, whose unity will thus have been respected. The choice of the particular phenomenon, then, would appear to be of secondary importance: any single one must, according to my ideology, give final results”


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