Nowadays, people are turning their attention to scandalous and shocking news on the Internet and through screenshots. When the lowest passions are aroused, the world around us is divided into idols and demons. When sex, food, and money become obsessions, there is little room left for real artists – painters, sculptors, and those who do not want to compete at all costs for a second of attention, a “liking” or Instagram story. Art means the freedom of innovation that comes after years of learning, mastering skills and learning about the legacy of great creators of the past.
Contemporary creators and artists who want to perpetuate a higher value (which goes beyond the crazy race in front of cellphone cameras) and can still reach our hearts through their subtle style, make us wonder the hardest questions and calm passion.
These artists did not disappear, they just “hid” somewhere among the people. You can sometimes see their works in exhibitions and magazines. Maybe one day their sculptures or drawings will come to life in some comic books that will be returned to the pockets of children.
We need to distinguish true art from false provocation. While the latter is really catching people’s attention, it carries a message and lifts our passions.
High art can be categorized as one that claims to be sensationalist at all costs, intriguing, shocking, consumerist and propaganda. They lack the highest values (artistic ethics). Being provocative and vulgar is easy. Being so accessible to the average or highly educated person is easy. It is harder to remind a person of what they really are, to awaken some true values in him and to encourage him to think right (which in this time is scarce). An artist should not be a monk without uniforms or a closed-minded human being with whom you cannot discuss topics that go beyond the holy books. On the contrary, excuses should encourage us to think new and broader.
The highlight of art in the Middle Ages was the smell of incense and the look on Jesus’ eyes as he sang. Byzantine painting then peaked worldwide. Spiritual music is not what for (every) modern man is synonymous with the path to spirituality. Centuries later, art was breaking through borders, playing with the body, with meaning, and with the world around us. Painting and literature peeked into the darkest corners of the human mind, changing the context in which taboos were laid down for centuries, questioning moral principles as well.
Today, technology has become a medium stronger than brush and the printed word, so it is normal for directions to emerge that lead us in a different way to rethinking, which sometimes implies (too) great freedom. This over-freedom then leads to exaggeration in its vulgarity. It may not be for condemnation, but it is not art.
People in search of “bread and games” sometimes succumb to the exoticism it imposes that is intriguing and in some ways attracts and encourages lower animation. This can be fun or experiment, performance, installation. The injustice is that those employees who did not (during their lives) decide to educate the art world in this way are simply degrading. We should distance ourselves, be fair and say that we (driven by some other impulse) have resolved to put aside some of the highest values of art and have succumbed to a consumerist approach.
We must by no means underestimate the work of Andy Warhol or any other form of expression in the world of consumerism, but this is not art but good design. It is not just such an abundant theory of art, academic learning, (which artists of the past have striven to leave us as a tradition, a heritage) the foundation on which we will build beyond them.
The pinnacle of world art should not be the reproduction of old art but the creation of entirely new styles that we will leave to new generations.
None of the styles present in art would be known to use replicative methods, if it were purely copy, generic mechanical continuation, without creation, without personal share and inspiration.
We need to remember and have insight into all the possible manuscripts and works of the famous and great artistic past. We need to think of the patterns that have left the largest trace on painting in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Then, by synthesizing a more modern approach to more modern painting of the 19th and 20th centuries, try to come up with a personal our own’s expression.
Every innovation is a step forward in art, but never a step back in spirituality. Everything that is dogma in any kind of art should remain unchanged in time.