On Situation of Artists

The Situation of an artist in the beginning of XXI century seems to be not worth of jealousy. We are living in times when the artists who are faithful to primeval manners of creating don't find many sign of appreciation for their creative endeavours. There is not many in the exclusive position of being independent and having distance from actual trends. In that kind of situation they loose their creative energy for searching news and sponsors. In this state of spirit it is impossible for the right sequence of proceeding and patient work on oneself and an artwork. There is no exaggeration in the claim that external obstacles and inner suppression blocks a painter the way toward the image. Maybe this state of inner instability causes incredible increase of phenomenon of plagiarism which Kant, more bluntly, called monkeying.

Another method of surviving in difficult times is sending signals by the artists that they are ready to let the potential sponsors (directors of banks, owners of galleries, bosses of mobile telephone networks) have their creative potential for defined time in exchange for appropriate payment. Apart from these external conditions, an artist is confronted face to face with destructive and disorderly, rather widely widespread decadent tendency in philosophy and art called postmodernism. Postmodernism (exhaustion, multiplicity, eclecticism of forms, prejudice against metaphysic, nietzscheanizm) is de facto philosophy of intellectual garbage.
The artists who find themselves under overwhelming influence of ideas of this movement feel hemmed in and socially isolated. They try to place themselves in various ways in the middle of problems that they find actual. They do it in two manners : they make so called socially involved art or they use strategy of scandal. Making socially involved art leads to getting entangled an artist in temporariness of emerging problems.

The second tendency can be divided into adherents of swabs version of existence and admirers of sado-kitsch. The first ones uses discharges of body or fragments of human remnants in their activity. Fortunately, the quantity of possible combinations of those elements runs out quickly. Strategy of scandal also seems to be short-lived. Lack of reaction from the public, simple shrugging shoulders prove that the only feeling in contact with such artifacts is indifference. It is true failure and humilitation for an artist seeking recognition.
Adherents of maso -kitsch who publicly injure their body and then photograph it in drastic situations can provoke feeling of pity instead of interest.
Today, when art like archaic monster spits out from the inside streams of repugnant forms and images, we can look with nostalgia on condition of ancient artists who created on the premises of great religions. They had canon, prayer, theology of sacred image or buddhology of thanka in their hands.

And what do we have then? Uncertainty , modern iconoclasm, impotence, inability to put fundamental questions. It seems like an artist of new millennium got lost and refuses to participate in searching of any kind of truth. On the contrary he willingly participates in creating simulacra (idols) which as the name itself indicates are connected with unauthentic, pretending activity that simulation is.
Old creating searching was based on conviction that there is something what can be found, that it is worth to put primary questions. One, who refuses such an inner capacity to ask difficult questions causes that the art escapes. On the other hand, there is a sincere reflection, slow process of creative searching and deep thirst for finding, in order to surprise the artist, a certain unexpected surplus appears. That surplus causes that an iconic dimension, a space for mystery emerges on the painting. The truth of that statement can be found in some studios in Cracow, where intensive work and creative searching lasts to late hours at night.

So maybe the situation isn't so hopeless. Maybe when medial turmoil falls silent and postmodernism become overgrown with grass of oblivion before the artist of the West the basic questions will appear: what is the Image, what are the ways of its existence and ways of its finding?

("Informator ZPAP - Okręg Krakowski" nr 1, 2004)

Władysław Podrazik