In the epitaph to a collection of writings by Harold Clurman, the great theatre director and critic quotes Picasso: “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth,” and Macbeth, “I … begin to doubt the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth.” What I love about art is its way of messing with the truth — of telling us what’s really going on in the world through the medium of fiction. Call it the Matrix Effect or what you will, it’s a powerful sentiment.
These days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between fact and fantasy. As Alan Bennett’s doollally headmaster in Forty Years On astutely puts it, “What is truth and what is fable? Where is Ruth and where is Mabel?” It is one of the main tasks of this blog to celebrate the confusion through thinking about art and perhaps, on occasion, attempt to unpick the knot.