Tag Archives: crisis

Studying Art – Diary (13) – What now?

Perhaps it’s the more popular question to be asked by an artist than one can imagine – What now? I have got, indeed, a creative, exciting period of discoveries and found solutions – but – what now? I have been praised and supported, despite my oddities – but –  what now? I have been pushing the boundaries and challenging the rules, something of a new quality has begun to emerge – but – what now? What now? Have I learned my lessons, have I been as honest and rigorous with myself and others as it was possible to be, is it my work not a cul-de-sac? …

Studying art is a fantastic privilege and one-in-life adventure, yet – there is a high price-tag to be paid. Apart from the strong sense of competition and generally not very bright prospects for the future career, you are there to perform – and to perform your best not matter what, which requirement makes many to quilt before the finish line. You are expected to progress and to mature all the time, to gain and display the whole set of professional behaviours and skills like the concept and audience-focused thinking, full responsibility for your work and the its development, pursuing the ambitious, personal expression and an unique, visual language, theoretical and technical competency, etc… And there is no more than three years for all of that. Your tutors are ‘somewhere around’ (as they are likely to call their position) – you can seek an individual guidance, yet – the quicker you land on your own feet the better.

Above that, you are very likely to wake up your demons – the questions you would never have asked (or have never been challenged to ask) yourself before starting to study fine art. All your misery and tragic past may be there – awaken and for all to see; all your shallowness and limitations of your inflated ego may be there – exposed as in no other enterprise; all your beauty and strength of your character and talents may also be there – discovered and recognized – yet – what then, what now?

I feel it for the first time, all the gravity and the sublime quality of being a supported art student, who gets possibly more of the mentors’ sympathy and attention, than he/she deserves. Studying fine art is not a private playground for gifted kids, it is not a dreamy land for the real-life-escape-experts, but it is a study like no other study – it is, in a fact, a very serious and risky activity, you can get hurt if you don’t deal with it properly; you can hurt others, who are around you as well…

Starting the new, last semester of this degree year I cannot help to keep asking – what are going to do now? Will you continue your negative, chaos and provocation-based experiments, or will you perhaps choose to ‘calm down’, to densify your formlessness and vagueness into a truly meaningful statement? Will you stay somewhere at the crossroads balancing both of the mentioned options, ignoring the pressure of the ‘results’ (the one of the biggest disadvantages of studying art in an institution – to force oneself to get the ‘results’ on time)? Will you answer to the your work’s calling from yet another, unpredictable now angle? How well/badly will you deal with your audience’s expectations/likes/dislikes? These are not rethoric questions at all, they demand quick, clear answers… Hopefully, some of those will follow in the next post from the series…

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Studying Art (10)- The Crisis

Crisis (Oxford Dictionary 2008):

a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger : the current economic crisis | a family in crisis
• a time when a difficult or important decision must be made : [as adj. ] a crisis point of history.
• the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
• the point in a play or story when a crucial conflict takes place, determining the outcome of the plot.

Thesaurus:

critical point, turning point, crossroads, watershed, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, Rubicon, doomsday

Well – you have it all considering the definition alone – you are in a trouble, yet – it’s a fertile ground, even though it may look like a disaster-in-happening. But – in a crisis, in this alter ego of any serious artist – there is always something redeeming… You have your Rubicon to cross – the dice to be thrown, a pathway to be chosen, a truth to be faced/accepted/rejected… New life – out of chaos is to be conceived… It’s a powerful element, which forms/displays the true character of humans; the only time when even ancient, sanctified delusions of ours can be annihilated… Though it may be confusing and/or painful like hell, you’re much better off accepting your struggle the way your child accepts the everyday piece of bread from you – something as natural as the life itself. But don’t be fooled by this apparent heroism of mine… If I had to point out the mistakes I’ve made during the last few months… well, here it goes:  self-indulgence to a point of a narcissism, self-avoidance, lack of a self-imposed, healthy discipline, letting the personal to overwhelm and to command the work, excessive expression, pretense and so on, and so on…

What else? Maybe only this, that it seems to be the tabu-word in today’s career/success-orientated world… the ‘crisis’ – say it out loud in our Western, Anglo-Saxon ‘winners’ ‘club’ –  and you’ll meet with a disapprobation, a distrust, at best – with a pity. It’s OK to weep publicly over the drama of a world-wide recession, yet – to admit – my private recession is not less acute – that would be reckless – just like to plant explosives on your own threshold… O c’mon people – fellow artists – the aristocrats of the spirit… being noble doesn’t necessary mean being flawless…But to say – out loud and out of honesty – ‘I’m just a pretentious, little bastard/ I lost my way/ I have nothing to say/I’m doing this cos I still believe in this exotic, dying flower – the integrity of an artist…’ and so on – that sounds right in the right, critical time, doesn’t it? There is something in the air nowadays that silence the great, the exceptional, the above-average; a man is more afraid of his lightness than his shadows… He is afraid of his own innate nobility, greatness, genius… it looks like the democratic system in its full swing discourages the truthful expression of an individuality the way the communists regimes were designed to do.

Well, it becomes incoherent a bit – I’ll better finish this strange post, the post of a crisis… But – you there – don’t you be afraid to think the nonsense… Was it Wittgenstein who wrote, that if we were too scared to proclaim nonsense, nothing smart would had ever been said?…


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