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Last week, I talked about esoteric astrology and psychology to understand the peculiar dragon puppet in painting 292. I tried to relate to you that I have trouble to understand what the painting means just as well as you. The painting is nothing I know beforehand, it develops under my hands, and if it is finished, I let it do its work. How can this be with the painting above?
We learnt last week, that people can be understood as a bunch of characters
like in a Punch and Judy show, all working within the same person at the
same time, kind of a multiple personality. Three of them were part of that
painting, king, robber and crocodile.
These considerations led to a basic understanding of the general impact art has on people. Art works from within, showing images, evoking feelings, transforming the art consumer along the way.
This can be seen very easily with movies, them being mostly fairy tales for adults. Movies make heavy use of the stuff dreams are made of. People often use movies to feel better, and last week I got notice of a web site maintained by psychologists, qualifying movies frankly as a cure for psychological problems.
A quote: "A movie viewing experience can stimulate our feelings and our thinking so that after weve seen the film, our lives have been touched and we have been affected." Therapeutic Cinema lists movies in 20 different subject categories including: Falling In Love, Change, Friendship, Guilt, and Matters of Trust.
Art Quarter features 5 galleries at present. Gallery Beck is devoted to modern painting, showing Joe Doe with Expressionist paintings and Anne Stahl with abstract paintings. Anne "works the earth and the planets". She is inspired by barren places, ice and glaciers. Her works are made of a multitude of materials and cross the boundary to reliefs at times.
Many artists don't know exactly why they do what they do when performing their art, but they know it's important that they do it. It is important for the art consumer, too, or "society", but often hard to see for them.
A good example is the art of Niki de St.Phalle. A couple of days ago I watched
a movie about her work and life. She made pretty clear that art was a way
to find her own way in life. Making art helped her not only express her feelings
and personality, but revealed new insight in general human conditions of
our time for all of us.
The well known Nanas for example express views about womanhood not seen before. She did not know what she was doing and where this action would lead her to. The Nanas were completely new to her just as they were to us. Every new sculpture would show her something she did not know of before. She experienced abundant joy and strength whereas in former works she felt and expressed extreme rage and pain only.
Another thought comes to mind. Where does all this stuff come from? Where will it lead to? There is strong evidence supporting the theory set up by C.G. Jung that everything ever experienced or thought of by personkind still lives in every single human being to this day. Everything thought and experienced by any person will add to this treasure.
Consider the prehistoric sculptures of fat women below found all over Europe.
Niki's Nanas resemble them to a high degree, but they also have very unique
features belonging to our own time.
Now what are these Nanas all about? Niki is about 20 years older than I. She married when I was born. I grew up with a strong belief that men and women are alike. It took me half of my life to learn that most probably the contrary is true: Men and women are opposite poles and extremely unlike. They both need this distance and they need the contact all the same.
The feminist movement ran into troubles, as we all know. Both sexes struggle to define new roles for long. The Nanas don't fit into this scheme, they illustrate a very personal point of view, exaggerating feminine attributes totally unpopular to our time. Also, the lust for life is not often found in our time which is coined by the slogan "No Future".
Here you see very clearly how an artist finds new ideas and contents with
methods unfamiliar to scientific thought. Also, it is evident that Niki's
work has influenced the thought and feeling of everybody having been exposed
to it. Third, she overcame her state of rage to experience a state of pain,
which in turn she overcame to reach a state of joy.
20 years ago, she started her Tarot garden in Tuskany, Italy. I hope I can visit it some day. Unfortunately, I could not find anything about it on the web. This is her work of maturity, monumental, popular, long lasting. The metal sculpture on top of the tower is by her husband and fellow artist Jean Tinguely.
Niki recurs to images and ideas thousands of years old, to the Tarot card system, very popular again in our time. The origin of Tarot is obscure. It is probable that Tarot is the master of all card decks. Some believe that all of life can be captured with the 12 major cards, much like with the Chinese I Ging.
All 12 cards (again this number) are represented in Niki's Tarot garden.
People wander around and expose themselves to the environment and get impressed
and changed in the process. Compare to Disney World. What a difference!
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To return to the painting of this week: I count 10 figures, centering around a hero figure. The hero is naked, the other figures are related to him, and the mood is encouraging. This painting works in the sense movies work. You expose yourself to it and it changes you.
It is the same mechanism we saw with the Nanas of Niki de St. Phalle. I lived with this painting for a couple of years, and I liked it very much. I felt very comfortable with it. I think it's about building confidence and strength and finding one's way in life and having allies to help with that task.
All the best 'til next time. Yours truly,
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