Anda di halaman 1dari 89

Stefan Arteni

Stefan

A WANDERING JOURNEY
Revised Version of the notes for a Lecture-Demonstration-Workshop held at St.Marks Library, The G.T.S., New York, N.Y. (April, 1999)

SolInvictus Press
1

St Luke, Byzantine, 15th century

A. Art can redeem the world. C. Brancusi Art exists both on its own terms [art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible (Klee)] and within a historical horizon. mimesis = faking poiesis = making (V.Turner)

The idea of organic unity is used as an epistemic criterion, instrumental in the comparative attribution of valuational guidelines: beauty exists when the work fulfills what it purports to be (Ortega y Gasset); ugliness is absence of due form(Coomaraswamy). Corporeal movements imply embodied schemata producing cognitive schemata. It is the human play of projecting a schema generated in our experience of being alive onto a non-biological and potentially organizable domain (Corradi-Fiumara): from bodily experience to mapping across and structuring other domains. The eye comes always ancient to its work, obsessed by its past. It functions as a dutiful member of a complex organism (Goodman), e.g., Leonardos test: the worn out and irregular surface does not contain what one mentally redesigns (Corradi-Fiumara). A sight is puzzling (light and dark and color blots/patches) when at first it is just fragments that through an effort are to be made into objects of which they are the qualities (Polanyi). Signs are projections and interpretations in an attempt at integration with experience past and present. The brain has no fixed program for structuring the plethora of impressions. Cultural imprinting interacting with biological factors helps to integrate details into a context that makes sense (Burkert).

We see by supplying shapes and patterns in terms of which bits of the perceptual field fall into place we see complete even if parts are missing (Polanyi). To make something meaningful, meaning must be imposed and overlaid (Smith). Visual shapes are capable of simultaneous articulations. Lines, etc., obey the rules of art but have no meaning. Meaning follows form, it creeps into it. Reality is a totality. A societal reality is a set of sets. One could formulate the following equations in any order: the economy equals politics, culture, and society; culture equals the economy, politics, and society, and so forth (Braudel). In a traditional society, a calling(vocation) is an art: art of war, art of healing, etc. Art is born of art (Malraux) upon seeing paintings, Correggio said: I am a painter also! A traditional art is a stylistic idiom based on a particular body of firmly set axiomatic rules and methods accepted by usage and custom , that suffice for communication in so far as they are understood by convention, signs and schemata distilled through time, passed on from master to pupil or learned from how-to handbooks (Coomaraswamy). East West influences: East Asian calligraphy: Soulages, Tobey, Zao Wou Kis ink abstractions; Icons painting: De Stael, Poliakoff. In the West, writing is seen as a semiotic system based on convention in which the sign disappears as much as possible into the signification: a marginal and transient awareness of the sign. Writing has to be emancipated, released from the quest to equate it with language, refusing to confine it to an utilitarian function of communicating and recording. The realm of writing (pictograms, ideograms, phonetic signs, musical and mathematical notations, etc.)

is space. In this sense, the Chinese character is the ultimate icon however much it may be distorted, it still remains itself, it contains a relation to the structure. For technical reason, the signs are broken up into assemblages of strokes, i.e. the pictorial form is very early deemed irrelevant, and replaced by a formal register peculiar to the signs made with the brush interesting is the image of writing, the actual form of the brushdrawn signs.

B. What then do we do with mystery? John of Damascus ARTIST/source/causa efficiens Art is a way of life, writing the chi (first canon of Chinese painting). Creativity is related to a certain Dionysiac madness unifying the symbolism of the descent into Hades as initiation and the shadows of the primordial nothing (Eliade). MASTERY by means of wish (Cassirer), the genius theory (Hegel): What counts is not the doing but the artists idea, the Kunstwollen. It results finally in parodies, destruction of what is not turned towards the idea, making the innermost of the artist the work of art and destroying the vulgar, material art : subjectivity as apocalyptic negativity. MASTERY by means of the work (Cassirer): Matter (paint: dirt + vehicle) should be addressed with awed and ecstatic reverence as it is the manifestation of and, in itself, a mystery. Matter is causa materialis. Matter (hyle) is constructed into shape (morphe), a transmutation of matter which has its corollary in a
5

transformation of the artist. Working through a medium involves manipulations, potentialities, constraints, skill that comes with practice, tacit and unspecified knowledge (Polanyi) - the material issues its call. The formal maps onto/structures the material. Gesture, medium, pictorial elements, act as presencing of a mystery when heart (mind) and hand are in accord (China), presenting something to be lived through and inwardly reenacted. In speech, original schemata condition one to watch out for certain features while ignoring other variations of sound hence, the accent. Is there accent in style? The culture sets up a mental set, a level of expectation. The medium also sets up a horizon, a frame of reference. Pictorial equivalents context and clichs act as a selective screening. In fact, the layman looking at art is a partner in the game of equivalences: cultural habituation. Unless one knows the conventions, one has no means for descifering an art work. Todays insistence on creativity may be compensation for the enormous anonymous constraints at work in society. The channel forms as the water flows = self-expression. The mutation of heritage through a strategic appropriation of the rules and signs of the only living traditional art East Asian calligraphy brings about a symbiosis of calligraphic abstraction and painting, the dissolution of the self in the process of moving the brush the act itself of doing that sets one free - , a meditation through the simple, changing, pressure of the brush.

C. There is but a small step from daub (croute) to masterpiece (chef-doeuvre). Paul Gauguin THE WORK/ causa formalis finished forma (hyle-morphe) hyle matter/refers to growth of wood and animate matter (Scheler) morphe placing into appearance for a while/shape A painting consists of lines and colors assembled in a certain order (Maurice Denis), an internally gathering dance. Matter is the substrate and field for the artists formative action. The thing is formed matter. The thing solicits us by its looks, eidos (Heidegger). Art has a cultic (ritual) and ludic root, it is a semi-ritual acting out doing while making. Ritual is an action artificially exagerated and redirected for demonstration: as if + demonstration (Meuli, Burkert). Any new creation requires a ritual sacrifice: underlying the bone flute, the tympanon, is the idea that the power of music comes from a transformation and overcoming of death (Burkert): operari to act/to sacrifice. The space of a painting (Francastel) is the locus/site of a free play without why (Heidegger). Although one does not intend the game, but simply the act of playing, the intentionality of human consciousness includes binding rules of the game (Gadamer). It may be a game of make-believe, a symbolic play . Language relates to the objects it denotes like a map to a territory. In play map and territory are both equalized and discriminated (Bateson). Like for a toy object, one identity is superimposed on another identity which contrasts with it in a number of ways; synergic quality emerging from this contradiction: it both is and is not something (Apter). Form is conventional (Klee), an encoded system of pictorial equivalents (Lhote), a structure that could hold indifferently a
7

multitude of contents. The message is irrelevant to it. Pictorial formulae persist through adaptation/adoption although their use varies (Warburg): the three tones for showing volume, used since the Greeks; pseudomorphosis (El Greco); scenographic composition, used since the Romans: three planes (screens) parallel to the picture plane - foreground, middleground, background (Lhote); surface composition : Golden Section/ contrast, expansion or reduction of field harmony (assonance, dissonance), isophany, texture; passages: disappearance/blurring of outline in certain points, i.e. the rule of three contrasts (Lhote), applied to light-dark and color contrasts. Visual clues/cues that screen out actual aspects so that one responds to those selected, are naturally integratible (Polanyi), e.g. background, a range of particulars to which one directs no special attention, is considered at rest. The image is a cryptogram, it operates with conventional notations admitting features for which schemata exist. The test of the image is not its lifelikeness but its efficacy within a context. Canvas, paint, combinations of strokes and colors, are the framework, the story is the content. One can look either at the framework, missing the content, or at the whole, by dwelling in the elements of the framework and integrating them in the whole (Polanyi). In nonfigurative art the whole becomes part of the framework . There is a difference between linguistic and visual communication, an ambiguity of iconographic meaning. It can change when it is transferred from one cultural area to another, and images may be adopted by a tradition that has no visual means for the respective iconographic content. An appropriated image schema may result in pseudoiconography.

An image is projected into blots and brushstrokes (Gombrichs guided projection), it has an aura of factuality (Geertz). Textual traditions usually represent the official culture of a small elite, which can read and write. Iconographic material has a broader scope: mnemotechnical image codes used ritually, the belief-web expressed also as decoration of all items and household objects when differentiation between literacy and visual art never started. It can be said that representational art has hieroglyphic character. As a semiologic complex, hieroglyphic script, interrelated with pictorial art, surpasses the alphabet a Western newsbulletin gives, next to linguistic information, also visible metalinguistic information: images. C. One does not refuse conditions of existence, one can only have others. Friedrich Nietzsche VIEWER/receptor/causa finalis Before ascertaining the necessary connection and adequation of form and content, before knowing what a painting may signify, one must ascertain if it exists as a good painting (Maurice Denis). The reality represented by the artwork is not located in that object any longer, but in the viewers subjective experience, where generally a non-visual literary outlook dominates. Hence, the aesthetic question: a message is deliberately associated with powerful vehicles of transmission (Only beautiful pictorial matter may be equal to a grand idea, said Dufy), or - a message naturally generates a successful vehicle, or - the power of the vehicle ensures that the message is perceived as important.
9

Matter and Form

Giorgio Morandi

Pierre Bonnard

10

Mario Sironi

Mario Sironi

11

Mario Sironi

Andr Derain

12

Charles Camoin

Charles Camoin

13

Mario Sironi

Gino Severini

14

Pierre Bonnard

15

Shi Lu

Shi Lu

16

Zao Wou Ki

Zao Wou Ki

17

Zao Wou Ki

Zao Wou Ki

18

Julius Bissier

Julius Bissier

19

Mario Sironi

Mario Sironi

20

Nuni Dona

Nuni Dona

21

Mario Sironi

Mario Sironi

22

Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy

23

Gino Severini

Gino Severini

24

Albert Gleizes

25

Andr Lanskoy

Andr Lanskoy

26

Serge Poliakoff

27

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

28

Andr Lanskoy

29

Maurice Brianchon

30

Jean Picart Le Doux

31

Henri Matisse

32

Henri Matisse

Georges Braque

33

Georges Braque

Georges Braque

34

Serge Poliakoff

35

Henri Matisse

36

Massimo Campigli

Giorgio Morandi

37

Marino Marini

Marino Marini

38

Marino Marini

Marino Marini

39

Georges Rouault

40

Georges Rouault

41

Gino Severini

Gino Severini

42

Gino Severini

Gino Severini

43

Anonymous master, Roman

Anonymous master, Roman

44

Mosaic and detail, anonymous master, Roman

45

Gino Severini

46

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

47

Marc Chagall

48

Marc Chagall

49

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

50

Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy

51

Anonymous master, Roman

Anonymous master, Roman

52

Anonymous master, Roman

53

Anonymous master, Roman

Anonymous master, Roman

54

Anonymous master, Roman

Anonymous master, Roman

55

St Sophia church, Trabzon (Trebizond), 13th century

St Sophia church, Trabzon (Trebizond), 13th century

56

St Sophia church, Trabzon (Trebizond), 13th century

Detail of the work above, St Sophia church, Trabzon (Trebizond), 13th century

57

Peribleptos monastery, Mystras, Greece, 13th-14th centuries (?)

58

Peribleptos monastery, Mystras, Greece, 13th-14th centuries (?)

59

Agia Sophia church, Mystras, Greece, 13th-14th centuries (?)

Agia Sophia church, Mystras, Greece, 13th-14th centuries (?)

60

Domenico Ghirlandaio

61

St John the New monastery, St George church, Suceava, Romania, 16th century

St John the New monastery, St George church, Suceava, Romania, 16th century

62

St John the New monastery, St George church, Suceava, Romania, 16th century

St John the New monastery, St George church, Suceava, Romania, 16th century

63

Sofronie and Ion zographers, Sucevia monastery, Resurrection church, Romania, 16th century

Sofronie and Ion zographers, Sucevia monastery, Resurrection church, Romania, 16th century

64

Sofronie and Ion zographers, Sucevia monastery, Resurrection church, Romania, 16th century

Sofronie and Ion zographers, Sucevia monastery, Resurrection church, Romania, 16th century

65

Stavropoleos church, Bucharest, Romania, 18th century

66

Stavropoleos church, Bucharest, Romania, 18th century

67

Romanesque capital, Civaux, France

St Vincent basilica, Avila, Spain, 11th century

68

St Stephen church, Avila, Spain, 12th century

St Peter church, Avila, Spain

69

Russia, 17th century

70

Russia, 18th century

71

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

72

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

73

Andr Derain

Mario Tozzi

74

Flix Vallotton

Gino Severini

75

Gino Severini

76

Gino Severini

Gino Severini

77

Oskar Kokoschka

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

78

Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles RAM

Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles RAM

79

Felice Casorati

80

Arturo Tosi

81

Mario Sironi

82

Mario Sironi

Mario Sironi

83

Ren Paresce

Ren Paresce

84

Ren Paresce

Ren Paresce

85

Massimo Campigli

86

Massimo Campigli

87

Serge Poliakoff

Serge Poliakoff

88

Serge Poliakoff

Serge Poliakoff

89