Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Art critique: New media & genre-bending arts
- The artist, the times and the creativity. 
an online essay 

History of Art

Art has allways been primarly a thinking process, only afterwards a junction between inner and outter in a unique creation. The Aim of Art was a Message; either from this world to another or vice versa, while the artists are channels through whom flows a sensibility of a particular culture. Traditionally art is thought of as a way of picturing or acting upon the reality and the values in and around us. Art had monopol over image.
Since the dawn of photography basic art definitions have changed; and art had to redefine it's relation to image. Faithful replication of the natural world, materialisation of the values through the art creation nor the very artistry or taste are the factors that define or evaluate art. Art has now been percieved as a hammer that breaks the traditional understanding of the world and Cezanne the pioneer of the new wold announcers. In contrast to their predecessors, at the beginning of 20 ct. the artists have become the challangers of the society in every way. Then in mid. 50ties art actually drowned in its own undertakings in the spirit of the times it produced.

It is said that all the planes are connected, that there are equivalents ( as in heaven so on earth) in both. Also, that planes interconnect. Formerly in every era of human history and in every culture on Earth, people left beind neaty, functional and mistic buildings, paintings or other objects that glorified the wholeness of Life / World and that paid respect and praise to etheral ideals. Art in traditional sense is based on acknowledging the existance of structures greater than self, only then it is creative. Space and creation within were the fields of expression of economical, political and ideological organisations, with interdependant relations in Nature and the unceasing existance of even greater system which would produce necessary outcome in current reality/ read: greater  harmony. In post -modern society the endeavors to communicate with Harmony greater than ourselves are lost, bounds or mediums drifted and mixed, just reflecting the crisis of everyday reality. The question is do the endevours to communicate in modern art correspond to planes overlapping. In present global hi-tech gibberish silkhat everything can be art and all approaches are allowed; the multiplicity of approcahes is to be explored, after multiple experimental - isms, Concept is glorified as post moderna art mutation. Common, Everyday and Trivial gains on importance, frequently just on account of unusual mode of expression. Literal verbal communications have significant importance but are often uncomprehensible just because of transition in another medium not addapted to that kind. Canvas painting has become just another medium in art, drawing back or simulating the new media.

The technics of ancient religious art, any art period or "school"  can be reproduced, but effects are lacking because the objects are removed from its natural environment. An reneissance altar piece surrelly does not have the same effect as it had on the people of its time. Same is with any past art tendencies. The present day painters who still follow previousely made templates create say, a reneissance work without knowing it, without creating and surrely without effect on anything ( maybe their income if good copycats :-), simply do not create. Same is with followers of dadaism, surrealism, cubism, op-art, minimalism or post modern art outside their time frame... These 'artists' are like the mechanics or souvenier makers.. A mechanic can work on your car, but lacks knowledge of the engineer who created the car. 

An engineer or a programmer has a better chance of creating objective art than our contemporary artists, who through documenting are making a material evidence of their non existant creativity. What differentiate Modern Art from periods earlier when artwork was the transmitter of the Message, is the Need to transgress the very media of expression through pure artistic act ( whatever that may be). But is this enough? Can the combination of just pure symblical act of channeling energy into desired hopes needed for modern society, define present- day- art? This defines religion, not art.

Art had always been grounded in the phylosophycal reality frame of that era, society or culture, taking them step further. Until today. Today it lacks any relevant background if not just 'art for art'. 

What art is and what is not

In an art performance projection of a well known croatian artist shown on a TV and in reputable galleries, Slaven Tolj documents his besotting on a video. He drinks 2 lit.of spirits on variouse places changing just the sort of alcohol to suit local traditions where the besotting takes place. 
Process translation: the intention ( drinking) is important in comparison to the type/ material used ( read: alcohol). Fairly performed intention always gives sure results; bessoted artist and a video recordings. The essence of material used ( alcohol of any kind) defines one part of the action efficiency ( here whether one will get drunk or not), video recording is a time constant, appearing as rapport. Artist Message; that he needs to get drunk no matter where he is and that art is a provocation of reappearing unconsciousness, possibly to vomiting result? The Message or Motive why the artist gets drunk (everyday stress, depresion and dissapointment, love hurts, business failure, or celebration on the other hand) are taken outside the context.

The art formula of today could be following: type unimportant, essence/ contents ( of thought)  definite, regardless of result in comparison to traditional arts: type important, essence/ contents transcedental, result variation. 

Modern art produces plentitude of paintings with nothing to see. It recycles past forms into present ones. The cream of contemporary 'happenning' artists devotingly torture, bleed off, scourge oneself on, kill turkeys in public squares, collect junk, self- complace ( literally  and implied) in galleries, ie desire to shock in any possible way in the name of art -protest and/ or social actions or simply to capture the attention and promote themselves. There is no forbidden, no unacceptable actions. Judgement criteria, enjoyment in art are lost along the way. Broad audience either has difficulty 'reading' art and imagery, they lack knowledge, education...( do they?) or indiferently pass by 'it'.  Mess in contemporary art unveils the breakdown of the secret code of aesthetics. 

Contemporary art lacks what should be its main features; imagination, foreseeing, and dignity and hardly has what it claims to have: social impact.

Moderne and post- moderne are concerned with the contents of the real world ( mostly with nature of light) and the subjectivness of experience, with roots in theory of relativity and pertinent natural and liberal sciences of the given time and space. Avangard was a replica of social discords, cubism, conceptualism, minimalism and other -isms have shown to be only the starting handle for creating the mode of living ( read: fashion trend). 

Contemporary art moved to fields of liberal arts where it conveys the conditon of our atomic civilisation; but undestructible quantity and kind of our archeological remains speak about us better than anything else; and that is other than most imagine.

Modern art lost its innitial purpose and does not relate too well to the life of the modern man.

It's purpose is reduced to kitch decorative accessory, outrage and/ or deviant shudder. Lots of people find modern art funny and interesting but also often pretentious, part of status symbols or trendy or just meaningless ( being this an idea behind the work or not, unimportant). 

In the spiral of reality, past art periods can be roughly devided after their purpose and the general maturity of the human spirit on; ritual- magical, emotional -documentary, theoretical and finaly art as applied conceptual ie interdisciplinary events ( performance - multimedia - virtual ) to end in hyperart, net activism digitally transceding  to Post atomic age of humanodroids and beyond. 
Historically art is dead but it has risen through fast pasing art trends, design and fashion and became the religion of modern society.

Current art is just like humans in search of a constant or a way to live in fluidity of Now as well as of a back-bone structure on which to grow. Is it Digital? Community based? Cognitive virtuality? combination of all these however we name it or something else yet to emerge?

- Timeline: 1st written 2002 -revised in 2004

ArtE Facts

ART & POLITICS: financial networking and new media freedoms in Croatia

I often check on ArtEfact:
Interesting themes, good authors, nice design no doubt about it. After official portal and websites of a few smaller galleries and artists, this is all there is about the relevant modern croatian art.

Nevertheless, here some objections; as soon as Artefact puts forth the new issue and releases a new Call for submittions the deadline is out and the materials can be submitted only by those already involved or connected with ArtEfact, because no one else can manage to send anything due to lack of time left ( 2-3 days or less!).
Recently I asked them why Artefact does not run any Forums/ Guestbooks or some kind of open-to-public input option, but there is none there. 
Taking into account advertised portal orientation ie. strategies of resistance, one would expect otherwise. No matter the content, in controlled closed systems open-to-public inputs are not possible.... As the folks wisdom has it, they "seek to exchange ideas about the questions of both culture and art" and pray for not having one. No matter my liking of the authors like  Dalibor Martinis, Sanja Iveković, Andreja Kuluncic and others, when you scratch a little beneath and follow background partner linkeage, one comes accross, and then you have it in clear that the background and Sources are AGAIN political, hence non- transparency and closedness. e
As much as it could appear normal to percieve modern artists as avantgarde- rebel- liberal many are just bussy with omnipotent image building of themselves, reduced to become artists-entrepreneurs, artists- tramps or system correct artists. Croatian culture sceen is since ww2 highly elitistic, purse-net nicely indulged into secured financial flows of political projects. Succesful artists are being just the advertisers for the political platforms and orientations or for the expansive corporations assisted again by the politics... and if you think of it - that is not some kind of progress in comparison to past.

Our politicians think that pure membership in some club ( in this instance European economic union) has to do with one's own cultural success and achievement in general. This is pure snobbism that creates environment suitable for growth of nothing other than a colonial culture or Art as a means of manipulation. AGITPROP.

That mobile goes on just because of the assumtion that Croatia has to prove again its 'europehood', as if this was what it has lost in the latest war (?). Regardless to connectedness and likeness of the culture in global village, when we hail and admire our emigrated artists or return to the favorites of the past politics, it is forgotten that they all live and contribute to different realities, first with very few refferences or journeys in their own past ( ie. territory).
At the same time, the very existence of the remained artists is reduced to survival of the endangered spieces because as Leonida Kovac points out; in public sphere are allowed only those with verified identities. 
Further reading on croatian cultural policy:

Non-freedom is determined everywhere by clique and their planns, NOT the Technology by itself. Ideology propaganda is the rudiment of 20 ct.

Recent Establishment of avantgarde rebell artists of the 20 ct. in Croatia shows nothing but a change of fur. As means, technology usage and accessability shows for what and to whom it serves, while the goals do not have to be ( but can be) always presented and justified. It is no good when the technology becomes the main tool and strongest weapon of the political and ideological propaganda. Specially when it uses past good efforts for its poor deeds. Svi složno naprijed u Veliku Evropu.

Refference Links:

- art group Exat 51- (short for "experimental atelier") constructivists  (1951-1956) //  Gattin, Jevsovar, Seder, Vanista, Feller, Kristl, Picelj, Richter
- radical enformel in the '60ties 20ct. - primary, analitical painting 
- Gorgona
- New Tendencies (1961-1973)
- Biafra group '70ties
- Art of the Postmodern in Zagreb; New canvas
- Vjenceslav Richter
- Miroslav Šutej
- Dubravka Rakoci
- Vlasta Delimar
- Mladen Stilinović
- Sven Stilinović
- Zeljko Kipke
- Tomislav Gotovac
- Josip Zanki
- Kristina Leko
- Ksenija Turčić
- Edita Schubert