Genius sits in a glass house -- but in an unbreakable one --conceiving ideas. After giving birth, it falls into madness. Stretches out its hand through the window toward the first person happening by. The demon's claw rips, the iron fist grips. Before, you were a model, mocks the ironic voice between serrated teeth, for me, you are raw material to work on. I throw you against the glass wall, so that you remain stuck there, projected and stuck. (Then come the lovers of art and contemplate the bleeding work from outside. Then come the photographers. New art, it says in the newspaper the following day. The learned journals give it a name that ends in ism.)
High culture is nothing but a child of that European perversion called history, the obsession we have with going forward, with considering the sequence of generations a relay race in which everyone surpasses his predecessor, only to be surpassed by his successor. Without this relay race called history there would be no European art and what characterizes it: a longing for originality, a longing for change. Robespierre, Napoleon, Beethoven, Stalin, Picasso, they're all runners in the relay race, they all belong to the same stadium.
I believe that in the history of art and of thought there has always been at every living moment of culture a will to renewal. This is not the prerogative of the last decade only. All history is nothing but a succession of crises -- of rupture, repudiation and resistance. When there is no crisis, there is stagnation, petrifaction and death. All thought, all art is aggressive.
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.
I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use --silence, exile and cunning.