Wednesday, December 27, 2006

See the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by Rich on Mon 25 Dec 2006 10:18 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Did Pollock succeed? Well as one of the pioneers of abstract expressionism he certainly did. In my opinion some of his canvases express the subtle worlds behind our own, but some of them also just express the chaotic state of his wanderings through the intermediate zone. Does his canvases succeed in expressing a certain subtle truth of the time period he inhabited (which in some ways invoked the intermediate zone). Well I think for the most part they do.
While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art. ( and I have also had this conversation with my brother a staunch catholic) Artistic expression may also express the soul of a certain time period (as I think Pollacks does) it may be offered in a form of social critique, irony, satire, to awaken the viewer to certain social truth or it may simply express ones own creative response to ones own particular experience of being in the world. Now to the extent ones creative response can be universalized to awaken in the observer a sense of recognition and allows them to also internalize the experience the artist intends maybe used as one of the criteria for the success of the work.
I also agree with Sri Aurobindo's comments on Theosophy however I think that two artist who were influenced in part by Theosophy were among the most successful of European painters of the 20th century to express if not always spiritual truth then certainly a vision of the loftier planes of being. One of these artist is Paul Klee and one is Wassily Kandinsky.
The interesting thing I find in non-representational art (e..g. abstract) is that it appears on the scene about the same time when the arrival of photographic and cinematic images begin to saturate human consciousness with an endless array of images which mirror and reproduce the lifeworld we inhabit. Although this trend begins with the Impressionist in the last half of the 19th century. Its almost as if at the advent of the 20th century when new technologies emerge which can accurately mass produce the images of the world, a new medium of artistic expression (Expressionism) evolved which forced the viewer to contemplate the world hidden behind the one we perceive with the senses. rich
by RY Deshpande on Tue 26 Dec 2006 05:11 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Rich: While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art.
It is not necessary that revelation by the artist of the spiritual truth alone will make art great. Shakespeare had nothing spiritual in him, neither in his person nor in his wonderful art which was with any number of murders. But what an expression of the spirit of life that his is! Somehow he was able to come in intimate contact with the living beings and forces of the life-world, of a certain type, and speak for them in its own forceful and rushing impetuous language, language so perfect for the occasion, to serve the purpose as if it was designed for it. It became an authentic expression of the joy of the life-spirit itself, in spite of the crudeness of human nature and the “barbarous” strength of his presentation. He could tap that life-energy and create a vibrant world with its own charm and with its own power, casting a strange but desirable spell of aesthetic experience on us. The effect is such that the fearful Lady Macbeth turns into the archetypal and, paradoxically, takes away all the fear that is there in it, all the repulsion our sensibilities are prone to. The highest expression of art can come from any of the sources, mental, vital, physical, psychic, mystical, overhead, spiritual, and ablaze with one or more than one sun of the spirit. When that happens it becomes great.
And let us also note that the reverse is not always true. We may have spiritual contents in a piece of literature or art, but that does not necessarily make it an outstanding art. If we have to give an example it could be of AE and Yeats: one was a great mystic and the other an artistic seer, with the other part remaining behind.
About Shakespeare Sri Aurobindo writes: “…his is not a drama of mere externalised action, for it lives from within and more deeply than our external life. This is not Virat, the seer and creator of gross forms, but Hiranyagarbha, the luminous mind of dreams, looking through those forms to see his own images behind them.” And again: “Whatever Shakespeare may suggest, it is not holding up a mirror to life and Nature, but a moved and excited reception and evocation.” It looks as though the flesh and blood in his characters have such capacity that hey can become real in some other world, achieving another kind of quintessentiality far beyond the power of abstraction.
If there is the soul of abstraction, which ought to be there if it has to have contents and significance for us, then this art must bring it out, its laughter and its weeping, its colours and its musical richnesses, its warmth and repugnance, its reality that is the impersonal behind the personal, form of the wonderful formless. Does that happen? Does the art of Pollock see the images of the one it is imaging? see the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction it is making? RYD

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