Sunday, March 2, 2014

My world and the Art World. (sketchbook assignment 1)

Hello: in this first assignment I'm supposed to reflect about what art should be in my perfect world, and how i perceive art really is.
I was supposed to show my reflections by either drawing/writing something or showing a piece of art that stands for what i believe about each on of the two postures.

Even though I was supposed to choose between pictures or words to make my point (tracks A or B as the course calls it) i think i inevitably ended kinda doing both.

so here it is:

What piece of art stands for what i believe art should be?

Here we can see "Construction in Enamel 2" by Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, 1923

It may appear as an odd choice, and i am not an abstract purist, but please bear with me for a minute. I tend to write long so i appreciate your patience and attention.

My relationship with this painting is very relevant for me. 
You see, I started writing about this painting, and at some point I had written several paragraphs about the modernist art movement and it's relevance in changing was was view as "the purpose of art", but then i realised that we are all taking this art course, so maybe there's no point in me bragging about what I know about art history. and you guys probably already know about that stuff so why bore you.

so I might just tell you about my relationship with this painting.
I've always have a soft spot for the Abstract Geometric Avant-Garde Art movements of the early 20th century. I guess, having attended design school, all the Bauhaus loving teachers kinda shove that appreciation towards you.
I think i mostly loved how manifesto-heavy they were. how their were locked in this intelectual arms race in which they were fighting to prove each other that they were the one that best made sense of the role of art in this changing modernist world. so each artist would have a lengthy manifesto explaining exactly what art is and setting strict rules for themselves about what they could and could not do in their work in order to keep their art "real" and "pure". pretty cool, right?

So when i first studied this movements i did not pay that much attention to Moholy-Nagy, as i was very interested in Kassimir Malevich. Malevich, russian artist, struggled to create an art that was devoid of all previous so called "unnecessary" things that classic art had (even to the point of talking about how realistic art was "zar-like" and should be discarded in a new world order) so I enjoyed reading his manifesto about how real pure "Supreme" art (hence his movement "suprematism") had ridden itself even from the input of the artist himself, no model, no representation, no emotion, no brushstrokes, just art itself.

Kassimir Malevich, Black Square, 1923
this is, to Malevich, purified, concentrated art.

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit the MOMA in New York. if you haven't been there, it's layed out out so nicely that you get an art history lesson just by following the natural order of the rooms.
So in walking around those halls, seeing lots of the world most relevant modern paintings, i got to remember and relearn all those things i had been taught in art history. of course i was thrilled.

And then I ran into this painting. A painting I had seen in class but I had forgotten all about.  "Construction in Enamel 2" by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Laszlo was in the same path as Malevich was. a path to find the most abstract, most modern painting. he wasn't that much concerned about the nuances of colour and composition as other masters like Kandisky were. No, at the moment of making this painting he was just concerned about how abstract, how apart from classic art could he be and still create something that could be considered art.
So in his search, he did this cheat, this illusion, which i consider the most abstract art.
He TELEPHONED a local ceramics workshop and proceded to simply DESCRIBE the piece of art to them. The piece was completely produced by the workshop without the supervision from the artist, thus creating a piece of art in which none of the nuances of the artist's brush had anything to do with the work. as MOMA's description says: "he presented the artist in the modern age as a producer of ideas rather than things."

I was blown of the ground when i first read the plaque at the museum. I received some sort of high as i imagined a clear picture of these artist involved in this clever race with no finish line, constantly one-upping each other. and with each new breakthrough, they gave something new to the world. a little bit of new understanding about what art is and what originality is and what an artist is and what beauty is.

So I don't love this painting because i'm an art purist.
I love it because it showed me art as this never-ending race in which everyone wins, even the ones who are not playing.
Because what art does, is that it pushes the boundaries of our senses, of what we think it's beautiful or worthy of our attention, of what is values can we intellectually derive from the world. it pushes all of those thing, and effectively expands the reach of what we call human endeavour. 

The artist may bring a story we hadn't listened to before (or a new take on an old story) or bring you a sound you hadn't heard before, or an image you'd never seen before, or an idea you'd never conceptualised before. and in doing so, the artist makes our senses broader.

so i guess the artists pushes our senses, just as a scientist pushes our knowledge.


ah, well, i guess after writing all of this i'm not that interested in the second part of the assignment. 
(showing, in contrast, a piece of art that stands for what i think the world thinks art should be)

I don't feel like making a straw man argument for the rest of the world and going all THEY DONT KNOW ART AND STUFF. but i will say that even when appreciating more abstract art, most people tend to be looking for beauty, something like this:

Gustav Klimt,"Adele Bloch.Bauer's Portrait" 1907

But in that regards, i would finish by arguing that our perception of beauty is just one of the aspects of our aesthetic range of perceptions, and that real art works by expanding, as i proposed earlier, all our aesthetic perceptions of beauty, representation, form, emotion, idea, value, morality, etc.

so yeah. pushing stuff. god i have no idea how finish an essay. 
i'm done. you can go already.
bye. :)

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