Thought Bubble – Raimondo Cortese

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What inspires an artist? Which celebrated work do they wish they had made? And how would they make the high-brow, low-brow? We ask this week’s Thought Bubble guest, Melbourne playwright Raimondo Cortese. 
Raimondo CorteseIf a single work of art had to represent Australia to alien life-forms, what would you choose?
The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney by Henry Handel Richardson.
If you could have created any work of art by another artist in any form, what would it be?
There are too many to choose from; but something like Don Quixote, or Hamlet, or King Lear, or The Divine Comedy
If art had to ask a single question, what question should it ask?
What are you experiencing?
Does beauty matter in art?
No, though beauty can be found in places where we least expect it.
Is mystery essential to art and why?
I believe so; art is able to shift our perception, make visible the unseen, while suggesting further realities that are destined to remain hidden. Mystery increases our desire to engage with a work or art by arousing our curiosity for something beyond what we know.
Edgar Degas said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Is your success determined by what you make or how it is received?
The success of any play I write is pretty much determined by my own critical view of it, as well as the views of a few other people I respect; there are simply too many opinions floating about, which tends to confuse the purpose of what might be called the critical reaction.
What high-brow-low brow confluence would you most like to see? (Wagner’s beer jingle? Proust’s day-time soap?)
The TV series of Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities.
What single venue is your cultural Mecca?
Malthouse Theatre (Melbourne).
Has any single work of art profoundly altered you on immediate impact and what was it?
I would say two  books I read as a thirteen-year-old; Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Kafka’s short stories translated by J. A Underwood – they all deal with being an outsider, or alienation in one form or other.
Picasso said: “Everything you can imagine is real.” Can and should art be more real to us than life?
I agree – art reveals what is intangible, what is beyond our ability to understand, appreciate or even recognise in our daily life.
[box] Raimondo Cortese’s plays include Lucrezia and Cesare, The Room, The Large Breast or the Upside-Down Bell, The Fertility of Objects, Features of Blown Youth, Roulette, St Kilda Tales and The Wall. [/box]

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