“And what is a gesture? Something on the order of the supplement to an act. An act is transitive; its sole purpose is to have an effect upon an object or to achieve a result. A gesture is the indetermined and inexhaustible sum of motives, pulsations, and lassitudes that surround the act with an atmosphere (in the astronomical sense of the term). We can distinguish between the message, which wants to produce information, the sign, which wants to produce intellection, and the gesture, which produces all the rest (the “supplement”) without perhaps really wanting to produce anything at all. The artist (and let’s keep this somewhat kitschy word a little while longer) is a performer of gestures by definition. He wants to produce an effect, but at the same time he couldn’t care less. And the effects he produces are not necessarily effects that he wanted to produce; they are effects that have rebounded, spilled over, and escaped, effects that come back to him full circle and provoke modifications, deviations, and diminishments of their own traces. Gesture, in fact, abolishes the distinction between cause and effect, motivation and target, expression and persuasion.”
“Starting out from writing (a field of causalities par excellence since one writes, one presumes, to communicate), a series of useless explosions that are not even the interpretations of letters manage to suspend the active nature of writing along with the tissue of its motivations, its aesthetic motivations as well: writing is nowhere and no longer to be found, it is absolutely de trop. And one wonders if it isn’t at this extreme limit that one finds the true beginning of man’s “art,” “texts,” and everything else that is “useless” - his perversions, his excesses.”
-from Roland Barthes’ essay in ‘Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Work on Paper’.