THE INCLINATION OF THE ARTISTS is increasing to connect with their surroundings and somehow to bring, in their work, a permanent reflection on the moment that they live.
It is nothing new, so much so that throughout history and in all times reality has pulled the ruptures and it was it that has boosted the construction of many artistic movements and iconic works in the History of Art.
This is the case of Picasso’s “Guernica”, which immortalized the bombardment of the Spanish city, Portinari’s canvases of immigrants, or the images of appreciation for US violence on Andy Warhol’s canvases, to cite even distant examples of his conceptions.
But if this has always been so. What has changed?
Over time, there have always been aesthetic and ethical choices, in the artist’s intention and in the reception of the viewer. When philosopher and art critic Richard Wollheim discusses whether works of art would be “anything but physical objects” in his book Art and its Objects, he states that “intention anticipates the vision of representation”.
What changes in each epoch, in my understanding, is how the artist tries to translate his/her inadequacy into his/her time. Artists are often explicitly inadequate and “artistic representation” seems to have been throughout human history the best way to “be in the world” and “find a standpoint”. On the edge of the abyss, in delirium or in denial, artists translate in one way or another something that tells us about them and about us.
However, this idea that seems to be more than internalized in the 21st century – after the rupture of the first avant-gardes a hundred years ago – seems to be questioned today, not by academic critique but by the “neoliberal man” who bets “on adequacy” in a world “shaped exclusively for him”, in a world in condominiums, surrounded by guarantees and certainties. A man who neither sees nor suffers from the degradation of the planet, with the increasing violence of increasing social inequality. A man who neither sees nor wants to know the other.
This man does not want to know about ART. He only chooses mirrors. He only values physical objects that preferably do not disturb him in any way and bring him peace of mind.
Here we talk about ART.