Gesamtkunstwerk: A work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so.
The traditional painting has become a historical relic and is finished with. Eyes and ears have been opened and are filled at every moment with a wealth of optical and phonetic wonders. A few more vitally progressive years, a few more ardent followers of photographic techniques and it will be a matter of universal knowledge that photography was one of the most important factors in the dawn of a new life.
- Without wishing to solve in a sentence all the imponderables of human life, we may say that the composition of man is the synthesis of all his functional mechanism; i.e., that the man of a given period is most perfect when the functional mechanism of which he is composed – the cells as much as the complex organs – is being used to the limits of its biological capacity. Art brings this about – and this is one of its most important missions, for the whole complex of effects depends upon the perfection of the functioning. Art attempts to establish far-reaching new relationships between the known and the as yet unknown optical, acoustical, and other functional phenomena so that these are absorbed in increasing abundance by the functional apparatus.
- It is a basic fact of the human condition that the functional apparatus craves for further new impressions every time a new exposure has taken place. This is one of the reasons why new creative experiments are an enduring necessity. From this point of view the creations are valuable only when the produce new, previously unknown relationships. This is yet another way of saying that reproduction (repetition of existing relationships) without enriching points of view must from the special point of view of creative are be considered at best only a matter of virtuosity.
- Since production (productive creativity) is primarily of service to human development, we must endeavor to expand the apparatus (means) which has so far been used solely for purposes of reproduction for productive purposes
- If we desire a revaluation in the field of photography so that it can be used productively, we must exploit the light-sensitivity of the photographic (silver bromide) plate: fixing upon it light phenomena (moments from light-displays) which we have ourselves composed (with contrivances of mirrors or lenses, transparent crystals, liquids, etc.). We may regard astronomical, x-ray and lighting photographs all as forerunners of this type of composition.
In nature we never see anything isolated,
but everything in connection with something
else which is before it, beside it, under it,
and over it.
According to Marx and Engels the
dialectic system is only the conscious
reproduction of the dialectic course
(substance) of the external events of the
The projection of the dialectic system of things
into the brain
into creating abstractly
into the process of thinking
yields: dialectic methods of thinking;
dialectic materialism – PHILOSOPHY.
The projection of the same system of things
while creating concretely
while giving form
Beauty. Inevitably, this concept has fallen out of vogue in the modern era, but it is still something which I as an artist pursue. Beauty is not perfect. It has flaws. It is unique. Copy after copy of a digital negative can be made to the exact specification and detail of the last. Uniqueness has been superseded by a uniformity has in images that does not allow for flaws to exist. If everything is the same, how can anything be beautiful? The flaws of these images are what are beautiful. The objects themselves occur naturally, their flaws are not man-made and their beauty is not man-made. This is the world of beauty as I see it, where it stands on its own terms neither begging to be seen nor hiding itself. It is beautiful, and it has always been right in front of us.
“The “flaws”, especially in this digital age are as you say, are important. Curious though, devils advocate here. Can I assume this is about subject only? And if so can the photograph be a beautiful thing if it is man made? and what is the photograph of beauty, a man made copy, and thus diluted?”
It doesn’t have to be about anything. A work of art can’t speak; at best it can declare on behalf of the artist, but beyond that – it has no definitive voice. It can mean anything to anyone regardless of content. This isn’t a bad thing, you have to understand just what it is you are putting out there, why you are putting it there, and then await its reception. It exists on its own, without you. Make what you like, make it better, then move on to the next thing – and make that better than the last.
This is not some meta-photography, photography. This is simply creation. Humans are consumed by the ability to create. I can make this. Therefore I do. I can be better. Therefore I try.
What is the necessity of concept? Did it exist before Conceptual Art? Is it simply an excuse to place two objects together, without similarity, and claim that they do? Is it simply an excuse to do what you want? Hide behind nothing, no concept can cover a simple desire to create.
Art without concept. Not some simple-minded approach that produces a general milieu, a flood of rehashed kitsch (or whatever we call it, some 80 years later), but purposeful creation.
It is a surprising fact that today’s painter of genius possesses very little scientific knowledge in comparison with the unimaginative technician. The technician has already long worked with this knowledge. Thus from the field of optics he uses, for example, phenomena of interference and polarization, subtractive and additive blends of light, etc. But that these should be used as much as matter of course in creating colored displays seems at present a utopian idea, despite the fact that the sole argument leveled against their use is a misunderstood appraisal of the process of artistic activity. People believe that they should demand hand execution as an inseparable part of the genesis of a work of art. In fact, in comparison with the inventive mental process of the genesis of the work, the question of its execution is important only in so far as it must be mastered to the limits. The manner, however – whether personal or by assignment of labour, whether manual or mechanical – is irrelevant.
One can never experience art through descriptions. Explanations and analyses are at best an intellectual preparation. They may, however, encourage one to make a direct contact with works of art.
The moment art is made, it gains weight. It is literal. Theory is just what its name implies – the theoretical; it is not law, it does not exist as art does. To bridge the gap is not to create on the others behalf, it is to arrive at a synthesis that is greater than the sum of the two parts. Art is the antithesis of Theory. Theory is the thesis, at most it is the first step – the preparation, or an exercise – it cannot be compared to its subject, yet the two coexist. Neither subservient nor dominant.
“…a saturation of magnificent signs that bathe in the light of their absence of explanation.” -Histoires du Cinema
Perhaps the answer lies in presentation. If the images were assembled in a way that would function as a fractured, discontinuous sequence – or multiple sequences – which would gain significance only when considered in this arrangement of complexity and interrelatedness. What occurs in rapid succession on the cinema screen would be produced simultaneously (not, in succession) on the wall.
Images that do not look for similarity in heterogeneity, but reveal differences in a homogeneous system.
The image may look like a Pollock in its formal qualities, but it simultaneously reveals itself to be an image of saliva. The photograph serves as a critique of abstraction; because the medium is grounded in representation, it paradoxically becomes the ideal choice for probing the dichotomy between abstraction and representation – for understanding and challenging the language of abstraction.
Images from this week:
Aby Warburg and the image in motion / Philippe-Alain Michaud
Histoires du Cinema / Jean-Luc Godard
Malerei Photographie Film / Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Painting Photography Film: A Guide to Narrative Montage / Andrea Nelson
Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias / Michel Foucault
The New Vision / Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
What is Enlightenment? / Michel Foucault
What is Enlightenment? / Immanuel Kant
How I came to Photograph Clouds / Alfred Steiglitz
Photographies / Jean Baudrillard
Photo Meaning / Allan Sekula
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema / Laura Mulvey
Film Form / Sergei Eisenstein
Avant-Garde and Kitsch / Clement Greenberg