Last week, I talked about the Nanas and the Tarot Garden of Niki de St.Phalle and told you that I couldn't find anything about it on the web. I couldn't forget the idea to present the Tarot Garden on the internet. You can read how I finally found out that Niki had created a site on the Tarot Garden herself in Monday Magazine (draft).
Funny as it is, I got notice of another Tarot on the web through a business
newsletter called Silicon Valley
Tarot. Contrary to Niki's Tarot, you can't expose yourself very efficiently
to this Tarot card deck, and the artistic value isn't that high. But you
can use it, although you shouldn't take it too seriously.
55*55cm or 21x21", Oil, Gloss,
Pigment, Polyutherane, Thread on Canvas.
This week, I find myself weakened. I engaged very much in an artist's list, the discussion was interesting, but obviously extremely fatigueing. To me, things are pretty clear. I do my best to communicate them to you, and as you don't write back, I can rest assured in my illusion that you will understand me.
With this list, it's obviously different. First, the other readers write back, at least some of them. Next, they are obviously all artists themselves. But, being contemporary, they are puzzled even more than the public about art. How can that be?
Art has been discussed at least as long as written record exists. However, it seems that we live in times particularly insecure about art. Very often I read the term "Postmodernism" these days. It seems to be used to denote this state of insecurity.
Everything seems to have been done and said, nothing really new shows up, every revolutionary idea seems to have been born before WW I and repeated and reformulated and reinvented and expanded and evaluated and utilized and exploited all over and over again.
This is no joke. You probably heard of Marcel Duchamps. Some contend that he is the greatest master of Modern Art. He introduced art existing only in the head of the artist even before WW I. He introduced factory produced items as works of art by simply signing them. He did some more in this vein. His works are estimated very high in the international art market.
Maybe you also heard of Jospeh Beuys, German superstar of several Dokumentas, international art exhibitions taking place every 4 years at Kassel, Germany. Jospeh Beuys is the generation of my father, Marcel Duchamps the generation of my grandfather. Somebody asked Marcel Duchamps about Jospeh Beuys. He replied: "I did all that 50 years ago." This is true. Joseph Beuys was upset, of course.
What a fate for us postmodernist artists! Our grandfathers broke all the
rules, until the breaking of rules became kind of an artistic law. How long
can you continue breaking rules?
200 cm, 79", Stucco Plaster,
By the way, the same holds true for music. Take John Cage, for example. A master in breaking rules. But is it really rewarding to listen to his music? These days, musicians even break the rule that new works have to sound ugly and upset the public. But still: Is it rewarding to listen to, for example, Philip Glass or Terry Riley?
There is a separation in the music market. The prolongation of classical music is one, jazz and pop music another with their different subdivisions each (Dixieland, Swing, Bebop, Cool Jazz, Rock Jazz, Boogie, Blues, Country, Rock'n Roll, Blue Grass, Heavy Metal and the like).
This separation exists in the visual arts, too. If you search the web, you'll find lots of artists still working with popular methods and topics. Nice landscapes, portraits, still lifes, wildlife scenes and so on. There is the market for this kind of art, and if you watch auctions, you'll be amazed about the high prices people pay for mediocre paintings of the last century. These are still produced today by honest artisans struggling for their self-image.
One of my journals is called Creative Journal. My intention was to get people
going. I didn't want to add another lesson to the many lessons available
everywhere about perspective or whatnot. My question is: What is art? How
can you produce art? How can you be an artist?
Yesterday evening, we went to Hannover for a concert of Harald Weiss. He is a composer, percussionist, performer, director, voice artist. We witnessed a one man show with two steel drums, one marimba, one telephone and one mask.
The artist did not show lots of percussion instruments. He did not excel in virtuous techniques. He held his audience fascinated for 70 minutes nevertheless. The day after, I still feel the impact of his message. I don't know nothing about it yet. It is there, I feel it strongly. I tried some thinking on it, but this doesn't lead me anywhere.
This obviously is art. If you watch out you'll notice: The artist is right on the point all the time. He acts as if nothing else exists. You'll never think it is not him all the time, whichever role he plays. Nothing can distract him from performing his task.
Actually, this is not special to artists. It applies to life in general.
People dealing with methods to right living sometimes refer to warriors.
A warrior knows that death is always near. There is no time for indulgence
in our short lifespan. No time for worries either. A warrior acts all the
time as if the next thing he does were the last thing to do. Any action can
lead to good or bad consequences and has to be taken serious responsibility
for. A warrior does not succeed because of superior power or superior weapons
but because of superior personal strength. All eastern martial arts emphasize
Now let's return to this week's painting. I clipped all faces. See how they
are right on the point? You can't look more sincere than that.
Now look at the creatures. They are funny, too. But right on the spot in the first place. I didn't invent these creatures. They happened to show up and stayed with me. They don't show in each and every painting, but often enough to classify them. The white round moon face seems to be just that. Also, the red snake isn't too hard to read. That blue bird is more enigmatic, but most puzzling are the amorphous figures, often coming in a group of four. The one at right comes with kind of an aura, which is unique, as far as I remember.
Yesterday, I exposed myself to a performing artist. He left his impact on me, although I don't understand why or how. This painting will leave its impact on you, although you won't know why or how. At least I don't.
All the best 'til next time. Yours truly,
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