Reading Amy Sillman’s Frieze interview Philosophy of Doubt

She has developed a pragmatic philosophy of painting that mobilizes doubt, treating mark-making not as a grand testament to an artist’s skill but as an invitation for us to follow and think alongside her.

The curator Helen Molesworth has deemed Sillman’s approach to painting as exemplary of a virtuous ‘unknowability’ and describes this as emblematic of a feminist ethos in a historical lineage that includes Virginia Woolf, Jacqueline Rose and Judith Butler, one that counters the combination of ‘mastery and power’ that has defined art-historical cults of genius.Over the years, as she steadily amassed her own cult following, Sillman has maintained a studied agnosticism in her practice, following trails of wisdom across religion, literature and art history.

Sillman relied on her philosophy of uncertainty as a kind of stable ground.

Sillman invites us to join her in that process, humbling ourselves in front of all there is to know and, sometimes, appreciating what it means to not know at all.

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