The Radical Metaphysics
of Richard Schain


Sententiae in Spaces


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"The Idea is the Art"

The main feature of my artwork is the philosophical or idea-laden sentence. Philosophy for me has become an art form in which idea-laden sentences (sententiae) derive from the expressive energies of the philosopher. I have chosen to present my sentences in the spatial framework of wall-hanging art boards. The concept is not unique -- this genre of expression evolved during the classical period of Greek philosophy when the walls of Delphi and other shrines were viewing areas for the ΓΡΑΦΑΙ (Graphai) of philosophers. It is pertinent to note that the Greek word 'graphe' may equally refer to a writing, drawing or painting.

The philosophical sentence (synonyms: aphorism, sententia, proposition) transmutes an intuition into terse linguistic expression. Its essential nature is more akin to an art object than to discursive or descriptive prose. I might have labeled my work as conceptual art if this expression had not already been preempted with a different meaning within the contemporary art scene. My sentences differ from the older "conceptual art" in that the linguistic statement itself is the art. The artist is a philosopher. There is a minimum of imagery or aesthetics. Nevertheless, the desire to objectify one's own consciousness is the fundamental goal in creating sententiae, just as it is in any other form of genuine artistic expression.

The 406 collected Sententiae have also been published in book form (see Published Philosophical Writings on the side navigation bar).  

Click on each individual statement presented below to see a facsimile of it in artboard format. Use the "back" button to return to this web page.


The bourgeois want money and the Christians preach love but we philosophers seek only knowledge of the hidden wellsprings of our existence.  


Living requires food, shelter, physical activity, human interactions. Without these things, life is not sustainable. But to live well, for the soul to thrive, one must have philosophy.  


An important lesson in neurophysiology: the brain stands to the soul as did Chopin’s piano to Chopin.  


It is astonishing how the distinction is still not made between developing the soul and acquiring knowledge. One would quickly be confined to a mental institution if he exhibited signs of starvation while hoarding great quantities of inedible foodstuffs.  


Art is simply the artist expressing in object form his awareness of a significant aspect of existence. Philosophy may be regarded as that form of literary art in which the awareness is expressed through ideas.


We artists must grow to realize that higher consciousness is an energy, not a state of mind. One is either acquiring or expressing consciousness; there is nothing in between except the tedium of biological activities.  


Artwork is a mirror of the soul but naturally if a monkey looks into a mirror, he will not see an apostle. Devoid of spiritual qualities, an individual can have no artistic experiences of any consequence.  


Gradually, one realizes it is exhilarating to create art in the midst of a deteriorated culture.  


The visual arts today are seen merely as parlor amusements – except, perhaps, as part of one’s investment “portfolio.” How ironical that the likes of Van Gogh and Gauguin lived, suffered and died in order to provide coffee table art books for bourgeois living rooms.  


Our current nightmare of materiality can only be combated by an opposing development of spiritual awareness. The task of art is to stimulate this ability, which is why the artist’s soul has always been the most potent feature of his artwork.  


Ideas are the natural focus of the developed mind. In our society, which is drowning in childish imagery, what is left out of artwork is as important as what is put into it.


The most magnificent sight nature has to offer is the Independent Homo Sapiens, unbound by any institutions or conventions; his own person in all that he thinks, says and does.