“Max Ernst says rightly, “Just as the role of the poet since [Rimbaud’s] famous Lettre du voyant consists in writing under the dictation of what is being thought, of what articulates itself in him, the painter’s role is to circumscribe and project what is making itself seen within himself.” The painter lives in fascination. The actions most proper to him – those gestures, those tracings of which he alone is capable and which will be revelations to others because they do not lack what he lacks – to him they seem to emanate from the things themselves, like figures emanating from the constellations.
Inevitably the roles between the painter and the visible switch. That is why so many painters have said that things look at them. As Andre Marchand says, after Klee: “In a forest, I have felt many times over that it was not I who looked at the forest. Some days I felt that the trees were looking at me, were speaking to me…I was there, listening…I think that the painter must be penetrated by the universe and not want to penetrate it…I except to be inwardly submerged, buried. Perhaps I paint to break out.” ”
— Merleau-Ponty “EYE AND MIND”, excerpt from Essays on Painting p 129