2005/04/05

About modern art: the artist's choice. But is it really so?

I just read the following in ART FOR A CHANGE:
"Hirst was interviewed at the Gagosian Gallery, a New York venue currently showing his latest works. The Elusive Truth is a display of 29 photorealist oil paintings by Hirst... except that he didn't paint a single one of them. The artworks were actually painted by an assembly line of assistants. Hirst only stepped in to add a few final brush strokes, a detail here and there, and to add the all important signature of the master. He admits that he can't paint, saying that "You'd get an inferior painting if it's done by the artist." The paintings, which have sold from $200,000 to $2 million each, are based on cheerless photos of drug addicts, suicide bombers, and hospital scenes. Prints of works in the Gagosian exhibit go for $20,000. One can only wonder what the assistants were paid."
To read this article click here:
URL: Has Damien Hirst Jumped the Shark?
The provocateur's new paintings still can't get much beyond his need to shock, by Mark Stevens
URL: This Is Your Brain on Pause by Michael Kimmelman


What to say?
As I mentionned yesterday art and marketing are two different things but it seems that marketing irremediably dominates the art sphere in our societies is it not?

The artist and all honest thinkers, for that matter, are thus confronted with a choice of life:
- or trying to make money and thus find a way to enter the marketing chain by catching the attention of the media through any means. (remember Banksi and the focus on his recent New York prank by the art-word machine ?)
- or, knowing that this will not bring you any money, think about the old question "what is reality?" and try to convey in visual signs the emerging ideas that are shaping a postmodern worldview that for the first time in human history will be a truly global worldview.

The entire collection of posts on "Crucial Talk" is devoted to art with no concern for marketing.

It makes no doubt that reading the words of Mark Vallen cited here above inspires a disturbing feel of disgust for the state of the arts in our societies. But is this state of affair of the arts not representative of a more general state of affair of the human condition? After reading Vallen's post "Of Cheese & Pickled Sharks" I read in The Guardian about "a report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure... In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself".
Yes here we are: humanity as a hazard to the principle of life !

Soo...
Different people react in different ways. Some fall for suicide, some fall for terror, some fall for material possessions...
My personal way to survive in this maelstrom is to search for the beauty of ideas best matching reality, not the image that projects on our retina but, the understanding of the workings of the whole and of our place as particles in this whole.
My paintings are thus not "realist" in the classical sense they are visual signs of, our understanding about reality, our latest ideas about what reality is all about. Reality is not attainable to us small particles of the whole, at best, we can approximate reality through words, ideas and visual signs. As Lao Tze wrote "the tao that we speak about is not the real tao".
Producing visual signs, of the ideas of the men of knowledge of the day about reality, this has been the societal function of visual arts throughout the whole length of our human history. My personal works are just that and nothing more than that.
I know that our societies are going through a period of very thick fog in terms of consciousness and that the ensueing confusion is favoring an all out merchandization of life. The next step, I guess, they'll ask us to pay for the right to breathe air...
So what can we do? We best we can ever hope of achieving is to take back the control over our personal consciousness, over our personal freedom to examine the validity of all available ideas about reality, with the hope to harness our free will.
Check the meaning of those words in some of my last works.












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