Arakawa’s art deals with statements and denials, and the mental processes that lead us to simultaneously state and deny something. At first sight, Courbet’s Canvas seems like a manifesto that states something very clearly. This leads us, against our instinct, to read and try to understand what is written, obsessed as we are by the desire to understand. But it’s just a visual trap. The statement is anything but clear, with its smudges, crossed-out words, elusive meaning and neutral background. Who said that art should always represent reality? What if it were just a way of emphasising the limits of words and colours?