Tag Archives: life

Human vs. Animal (3)

Captivating. Stirring. Uncanny. Bewitching. Bone-chilling.

Nature is genius even or – especially – when it goes wrong…

—————————————————————————-
Materials shown for educational and inspirational purposes. Double-click on vids to access their original upload and to learn about the authors.


Human vs. Animal (2)

Anthropomorphobia is the fear of acknowledging in nonhumans qualities we wish to consider only human. Anthropomorphobia is traditionally associated with anxiety responses to fictional animal characters displaying human behavior in works of fiction like “The Secret of NIMH”. However, with the development of androids and robots that mimic human behavior, the concept of anthropomorphobia has been adapted to include nonliving stimuli.

Interesting neologism with some profound possible consequences: the abject sphere of human psyche denying its roots which have been always deeply existing within the womb of Mother-Nature.

Humans excel in being humans; ‘humane’ means ‘divine’ – a step beyond this illuminated Olympian circle of ‘humanity’ – one is in a grave danger to slip into that chaotic inferno of natural world – of Beasts and Monsters, of Wild Creatures and unpredictable Elements…

Humans dread being ‘inhuman’ more than they dread being dead. There can be hardly any fear more deep-seated and penetrating and more repressed at the same time.

Yet – let’s beware my fellow human animals – ONLY what is HUMAN can be INHUMAN. In countless records – from simple myths and folk legends to complex ideologies and works of art – we are faced with the fact that the most alienating, monstrous forces are shown to reside not in some intergalactic spaces but deeply within the fabric of the human species itself…


Do you speak ‘Twitter’ ?

What can I say? Blogging is a privilege, but blogging is also a luxury, which few can afford. Blogging means ‘time’ and a ‘longer meaningful statement’ – both goods more pricey than pure gold.

Few years ago, thousands of those caught in the Web for good were thrilled by this very opportunity – to be one’s own publisher and editor. Dozens of hospitable platforms hosted amateur and serious writers, journalists, thinkers who quickly found ingenious devices to gain more and more public, and to make their online hobby profitable or even – a sort of a permanent occupation.

Blogging-world has been, right from its birth, a faithful reflection of the market as it evolves everyday – it’s got its ‘celebrities’ and ‘niche’ authors, its outstanding examples of intellectual ballet and creativity, as well as the pools of pure spam. Blogging has changed the way humans think and express their everyday experience. Blogging was and is all about the challenge, beauty, mystery, wonder, torment and curiosity of living ‘here and now’.

Then something even more groundbreaking has occurred. Social networking services like “Facebook’ (FB) and recently “Twitter” failed to become, as their critics predicted, online hangout places for teens with lots of strong language and weak sense of any significance whatsoever… If any of us has ever dreamed about the supernatural power to know the thoughts of people as they spark – here it goes… Take “Twitter” – one can easily follow a scientist from Washington, a politician from Warsaw, a journalist from London, an unknown brilliant x from y who brights up a day by his ideas… One is able to share all the worthy, meaningful bits and pieces of one’s online and offline experience as it goes with friends and strangers. And this very common, hyper-democratic spirit and habit of free-sharing of one’s humanity – thoughts, emotions, beliefs, tastes, choices is possibly the most important, most positive and amazing aspect of this comparatively new Web development.

Generally, one could write essays and books about these phenomena (and many do). As a member of an art-world I’m simply overwhelmed and enchanted by their potential, especially when considering theoretical and practical benefits that art and artists may gain. If art is all about communication, about projecting our humanity – what happens online now is like a new, never-seen language in making – fractured, grass-rooted, highly experimental code of communication that a man of 21st century chooses to express himself in.

Does contemporary art speak this very language, does it follow closely enough? Or maybe – IT IS the thing per se – from time to time I cannot escape the impression, that by making my own mind a public venue, by contemplating the same condition from a distance thanks to others generosity – I take a part in a deeply artistic experience. What’s the difference after all, for a contemporary of Rembrandt to see his/her world reflected and transformed in his canvases to a point of alchemical strangeness, and – for us right now – to experience the same when literally – ‘reading minds’ of ‘real’ people in a virtual realm; the effect is the same – uncanny illumination of one’s own power and futility – the essence of all art.


One particularly high-brow inspiration…

Royal Society (of Science) site is a goldmine of wonder, high-quality information and an inspiration. It’s made and kept going with passion, flair and open-mindedness – it’s inviting and educating to all… as opposed to some of the elitist, obscure sites (also blogs), which tend to draw clear lines between the ‘patrons’ and the ‘folk’…

Here are some of the Society ‘s propositions (present and ongoing) designed with the concern for the general public, to promote the culture of using minds actively and creatively:

Summer Science Exhibition 2009 (30 June – 4 July) – featuring some cutting edge, pioneering research from UK, great opportunity to meet projects and minds behind them.

The New Alchemy: Rutherford and the Atom (1 December 2008 – 26 June 2009) – What is the world made of?
Philosophers and scientists have tried to answer this question for centuries. In 1911 Ernest Rutherford FRS made an important leap forward, unveiling an atomic model in which electrons orbit a central nucleus.
This exhibition celebrates Rutherford’s achievements and traces the history of the atom from the ancient world to the sub-atomic age…

Culture Evolves (28 – 30 June 2010) – The capacity for culture is a product of biological evolution – yet culture itself can also evolve, generating cultural phylogenies. This highly interdisciplinary joint meeting with the British Academy will address new discoveries and controversies illuminating these phenomena, from the roots of culture in the animal kingdom to human, cultural evolutionary trees and the cognitive adaptations shaping our special cultural nature.

One can also listen to talks/discussions/lectures recorded in the recent years and featuring the life -sharing of thoughts/concepts by excellent academics. Here is an example (to make a little self-indulgent remark): Dublin-based psychiatrist – M. Fitzgerald speaks about links between autism and creativity – (talks from September 2008) – and it’s great to sense his personality, wit, and the concern behind his ideas, so well-know from different publications.

Well, one can only admire and be stimulated by that intensely humane spirit of generous sharing and intelligent inclusiveness, continuous striving for a development and excellency, as well as the great sense of the public service. All of these qualities not so often, unfortunately, to be encountered in the art-world today…



Studying Art (18) – Getting over it…

What a year it was… I mean – not easy one… In fact – bl…y difficult…

Studying art is a bit like diving in Le Grand Bleu… further down, the less light and more dense matter… Waters around get less inviting, more frightening and yet – strangely captivating, with that pulsating, magnetic force, which commands you to continue, in moments against your self-preservation instincts and despite of all…

It became a sort of my habit to use this web-space to express my gratitude to everyone involved (voluntary or by an accident) into my studying and ‘getting over’ it… It’s been always my ambition to present this site – its research and its ethos as a natural extension of everything, what had happened to preoccupy me in my ‘actual’ studio. I wanted it to be a virtual companion of my ‘real’ studies in ‘real’ life – yet, it came out as a sort of a separate project, fairly independent and inspiring – must say… What I only regret is that a real, stimulating link between ‘Terra Incognita’ online and the ‘unknown land’ in my studio has failed to be established… I mean, my work was either behind or ahead of my writing here, often pulling in directions, I couldn’t find the words for; or (even worse) – trying to ‘show’ the abstract thoughts and complex ideas expressed here. Also, I’ve chosen a low-key profile sharing this site with few… well, not very generous of me…

Generally, in this very moment, when my time as an ‘undergraduate’ is heading quickly to the end, I would strongly recommend to any art student to have his/her ‘grassroots movement’ online – to establish and take time in developing a site, a club, a gallery… a space, which is infinite and incredibly enriching, which gives freedom of expression and a great training in responsibility/persistence… Besides, where else you could tease your tutors publicly or discuss your view on art with visitors from the US, Trinidad/Tobago or Tbilisi at the same time?

Yes, that was a confusing year… I can’t remember the last time, when I was that intensely and unsettlingly aware, that carrying on the way I’d chosen would have cost me much more than the lost appetite or the minor melancholic headache… Omnipresent futility and fragility of life in its countless scenes unfolded with its cruel arbitrariness. An admirer of Shakespeare couldn’t help to tease his master: ‘where – on Earth – did you get your sense of drama from?… You’re a great charmer and a liar, nothing more… There is nothing truly dramatic or spectacular in one’s world going to pieces… Just a quiet surprise, being repeated as a mantra: ‘was it really so frail?… I used to think it will go on for ever…'”

Anyway… getting over it, emerging, transcending…

My traditionally big and sincere THANKS to you all guys – online and offline, accidental and doomed to meet me everyday – for your presence, your patience, your time, your support… it’s been simply priceless and won’t be forgotten, not easily anyway…

————————————————————————————————-


“Floating Culture” and the Thickness of things…

Check out these two last posts on Henri Art Magazine:

In Hyperaesthetics – 19 sixty he describes our culture – POMO (Postmodernism) of an unacceptable lightness:

We are somnambulists and voyeurs, lost in the hallucinatory world of light-speed and lenses. We are no longer grounded. We float in the digital subjective, our voices not quite our own, because we have merged into the great electronic collective. (…) We lack depth and heft. We are light as a feather on the breeze – a world of Forrest Gumps. (…) We signify rather than converse. We develop games rather than create poetics. We program applications rather than create mythologies. Our vision determines nothing in the free floating vacuum of space.

Hm, interesting… It reminds me about Japanese Ukyio-efloating world, floating culture from 19th. century, which Hokusai captured in his great woodcuts. That was the world of hedonism, light-weight and extravagance, ‘unbearably light’ as M. Kundera would say. In Hokusai’s ” Great Wave” a disaster strikes dwarfing the frantic efforts of men in boats, who are about to perish. A big metaphor and vision at the same time?

Then, Jerry Saltz is being quoted as commenting on the “Generational: Younger than Jesus” (what an awkward title, after all) exhibition:These young artists show us that the sublime has moved into us, that we are the sublime; life, not art, has become so real that it’s almost unreal. I would disagree – that “Man is the measure of all things” – that’s nothing new; in fact, it has been said in 5th B.C. (Protagoras) and has been repeated endlessly in different forms from then till now. But, hardly ever before man was less ‘sublime’, if one takes traditional/dictionary meaning of the word as : elevated, noble, lofty, awe-inspiring, majestic and out-of-this-world… Well, one could agree on the last adjective Floating in today’s cyber-space, creating avatars and entire parallel worlds/lives online, living in the complex, globalized, absolutely commercialized spacethe contemporary man is, indeed, out-of-this-world. But, if the world he inhabits belongs to the ‘sublime’ experience is rather a questionable point…

Another post: Rough Trade – Thick is a logical consequence of the first one. We are too light, our art is too light… Solution? We have to become thicker… Actually, I find it fascinating – this author from another continent, another generation expresses, in slightly different terms, what I defined as: painting independent ‘living organisms’,  rather than just another image/representation. We echo each other intuitions, as if this mood and a need of a change was in the air:

It is not the “fresh air…around the painting” that we need to be looking at. We’ve had fresh air around painting for FAR TOO LONG. We need fecund, thick air in the painting itself. We need to be panting, gasping for air, in front of the painting. And it’s here that we get to the thickness of things. It’s like when one holds a thing in one’s hand – it has heft and weight, volume and form. It has temperature and texture, it asserts its existence. These are exactly the same things that happen when we look at things without the critical play, when we look at things straight away and it should happen when we look at art. We should see the Thickness of things and by seeing it, we should feel it…

———————————————————————————————————

Henri – Mark Stone – is an American painter. To see his personal site click here.


Chaos Theory, Fractals and the complexity of existence…

I’ve promised you few notes on “Fractal Ontology”. Well, here they go…

The term bridges philosophical notion of ‘ontology’ -(Greek meaning: ‘theory/science of being’) with the phenomenon of ‘fractals’ taken from the natural sciences and maths. Going deeper – ‘fractals’ originate from the Chaos Theory, and this is where one probably should start all the explanations.

Chaos Theory is a dark horse of contemporary science. Two hundred years ago  it would be unthinkable – Newtonian perfectly organized world-view, with its deliciously logical mechanics, was too strong to allow any serious benefit of a doubt.  A hundred years ago Einstein’s genius abolished the rule of determinism, reductionism and objective knowledge in science – his contribution was so revolutionary and complex that it hasn’t been fully digested yet; practically, one can easy predict, that our 21st century would be a completely different fairy-tale if it wasn’t for that one man and his theories…

The ‘scandal’ of Chaos in science had started to develop in maths (with regular experiments being conducted in 1920s onwards), then had been followed by physics, chemistry and biology  – where scientists observed irregularities, even randomness in the dynamics of systems considered as ‘ordered’ by the traditional views. From various chemical reactions in micro and macro-cosmos to weather and climate – universe has started to display itself as – in fact – infinite chaos, rather than the absolute order, as humankind was keen to believe for ages.

In natural world, there have always existed structures and phenomena, which proved to be impossible to describe by traditional Euclidean geometry or Newtonian dynamics… Mountains ranges, clouds, coastlines, crystals, lightning, blood vessels –  boundless, captivatingly beautiful, unpredictable in its evolution though fairly self-similar, they generate themselves forever expanding accordingly to the rules, which cannot be completely captured or explained, simply because they’re no definite rules… Epitomes of Life per se – the face of Nature in its most primordial, creative and self-sustaining structure… These are FRACTALS – children of the organized chaos of the Universe. Yet “chaos” here doesn’t simply mean ‘anarchy’ but ‘a higher order’ – out of confusion and complexity life emerges as a functioning organism, it may be unpredictable and extremely sensitive to any stimulants – yet – it displays that innate tendency to form into patterns and structures – it fosters and commands order despite of all forces that act against it.

Fragmented, ‘broken’, complex, inexhaustible – this is the ‘fractal’ theory of existence (transplanting scientific concepts on the philosophical field). One of those very few examples where the nature of the human thought and the nature of the physical world interweave so closely and creatively.

Focusing on the creativity- ‘fractal’ world-view belongs to the oldest, most pre-thought, deeply spiritual as the example from the ancient “Book of Kells” (above) shows. There are many symbols and primitive art images created by ancient civilizations, which show their intuitive reading of nature as fragmented, ‘fractured’.

Picasso’s portrait of A. Vollard (above), just like many cubists works from its analytical period picture the fractal vision of reality – looks like art preceded science in its practical applications of the Chaos and Fractal Theory (though calling it with different names)… In many abstract and abstract expressionist works, from P. Klee and J. Pollock to postmodern works (look above -work from the “Fractal Gallery”), often digitally generated one can easily noticed how that chaotic, ‘broken’, non-linear (as opposed to ‘classical’ ordered) representation of reality prevails presenting itself with innovative spirit, confidence and haunting beauty.

—————————————————————————————————————

Note: Due to the immense complexity of the issues presented and the brief nature of blogging, one cannot consider this article as ‘informative’ in a scientific sense (due to simplifications and the fragmented outlook). Its intent is mainly that of promoting science and its theories. Care will be taken in my further research to develop this, here introduced, art-science affinity concept. Extended information on fractals can be found online – here are some of the links: FractalOntologyWikipedia, Chaos Intro, EnchantedMind and many more…


Studying Art (17) – Why do you paint?

I’ve been challenged with this innocent question recently, and though I came up with an immediate answer at that moment ‘of truth’, I still keep pondering over it now, as if looking for a deeper, fuller view…

Why do you paint? Why do I paint?

My photographs say most of what I want to convey, my writing could explain the rest… I enjoy constructing installations, and I’ve got a truly creative time exploring all the new media available… Yet, I’ve been coming back to painting like a prodigal son, despite,  or – perhaps – because of everything, that has been given and taken away from me, due to my pursuit of this particular way… That ‘everything’, which I find almost beyond any description…

I remember being praised for that ‘loyalty’ to the medium, and my answer – quick, almost sub-conscious, was:
– Well, we cannot escape ourselves, can we?…
And then I added:
– In forty years time, I will probably still be painting…

Strange, how sure I was about it at that time, having only few studies in paint executed and still being largely ignorant about the most basic things…

I’m far from crafting any cryptic messages about the mystical connections between a painter and his materials, between his psyche and that angelic ‘monster’ – the painting, which always proves to be stronger than its creator… There is something true about it and those, who paint can grasp it… Yet, there is much more…

Painting has got that power to create, and abolish, entire worlds… just now… And the responsibility for that is a part of an adventure… Just like the all  pain involved into it…

That was my ‘raw’,  intuitive answer to the title-question. I meant by that, that each time I take a paint-loaded brush to live a mark on canvas I’m in a charge of an universe, which is out there, waiting to be created in me, and – through me – in an artwork…

It can take a minute or years; it can cost nothing or life and health; it can result in generation-changing discoveries and it may end up in a private despair only… Yet – there is that creative, never-ending, always profound challenge no other artistic medium, I know, can offer to a searching mind and courageous spirit… The challenge to capture the essence of life and death, humanity and divinity, what has ever existed and what is possible yet…

Painting is my Theory of Everything – it aims at explaining and linking all the matter of my consciousness (and unconscious) into an independent, evocative system – a Cosmos taming and denying Chaos .

Painting is the projection of my humanity, it’s a story of a human being… No other medium (except maybe music) appears to be so close to the human nervous system – I paint with my nerves, I paint with my blood and cells… I paint as a living being – living organism to create another living organisms – self-sufficient microcosms.

I paint to save and to be saved…

And you – Why do YOU paint?

———————————————————————————————-


Contemporary Art (6) – Jakub Julian Ziolkowski

Untitled , 2007,  oil on canvas,  15.75″ x 12.5″

The Great Battle Under the Table, 2006
Oil on canvas
190 x 165 cm / 74 3/4 x 65 in

ziolk40346

The Garden, 2008
Oil on canvas
105 x 82 cm / 41 3/8 x 32 1/4 in

——————————————————————————————————————–

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski (b. 1980) – Polish painter, lives and works in Krakow, Poland.

Well, there seems to be a considerable, positive ‘buzz’ around this artist on the international art-scene… A Cinderella story, if one considers a newly graduated painter from a (still) ‘provincial’ Eastern Europe (Ziolkowski graduated from “Jan Matejko Academy of Art” in Krakow in 2005) having a successful, acclaimed exhibition in the Hauser and Wirth in London. At the moment, one can find his paintings  among others in the NEW MUSEUM – NY, at the prestigious “The Generational: Younger than Jesus” exhibition – a visionary event aiming at promoting the youngest, promising artists from around the world. And Jerry Saltz writes about them in the ‘New York – Art Magazine’: Jakub Julian Ziolkowski’s paintings aren’t about academic ideas of formalism, happy doodling, or mannered figuration; they’re visionary Bosch-meets-Ensor. (click on the link to read the entire review).

Not too bad at all as for an emerging artist…

Personally, what I find especially compelling about Ziolkowski’s work, is … its perverse realism...

“Realism?!” – I can hear you doubting – Call it sur-, call it magical -, call it dada-, but not just ‘realism’, for Christ’s sake ...

Well, they are realistic paintings – I can guess so, seeing this particular painter as my never-met mate from the same yard. We share our generation, our actual and, in parts – spiritual landscape – being born and brought up in one culture at the same time… Our education belonged to one of the most classical in Europe (in the world?), we had been taught, with the utmost solemnity,  that Greek/Roman mythology, classical philosophy, together with The Bible are totally responsible for how we think and perceive reality and ourselves.

So, reality is anything but a plaything to be messed with, reality is the residence of gods’ and humans’ stories – it exists to be reported, to be told, not to be ignored or subverted for the rebellion’s own sake… We may be tempted, of course, to turn our backs on it, to exorcise it from all the evil, cruelty and confusion so deeply ingrained into its tissue. We are the Polish X-generation from 90s, 00s – born out of oppressed parents (due to the Communists’ rule) into a world that could hardly offer us anything, except a perpetual struggle for survival –  to a country being itself  a huge mess due to a political, economic and cultural transformation… Hundreds of thousands if not millions of us from this very generation, from highly educated to those ‘just’ ‘resourceful’ ones, had left their homes as soon as the borders of Europe had been finally opened… And crossing the borders, alike staying behind on a land being slowly deserted by familiar faces and ideas – that makes one a realist – no matter what – a realist in a deep conflict with reality…

And there are hints of those intimate wars being fought in Ziolkowski’s paintings – battles between a duty to tell the ‘gods and humans’ stories as they are, and the perversion of imagination, troubled by the insecure, heartless world around.  Battles are fought under a table, while a huge spider-web covers after-Van Gogh’s-like wheat-field (Untitled, above) … well,  it didn’t surprise me when I read a reputable Polish author (of the older generation) commenting on Ziolkowski’s ‘dreamy hallucinations’ and his ‘private worlds of phobias’… Traditionalists would never accept Francis Bacon’s concept of the ‘concentrated reality’ –  being conveyed not merely as an illustration but an extract of it – presenting itself so intensely real that… mesmerizingly or shockingly unreal…

———————————————————————————————


Studying art (16) -Humility

It will sound like a pure didacticism, yet – this appears to be the new discovery of mine: art is one of the best teachers of humility one can find.

I’ve been going through stages of naive, dreamy escapism, of unconditional passion, of playing tricks and games; I’ve used artistic means to express how much I care about and adore human world and how deeply negative, even nihilistic  about it I may become… I’ve got mesmerizing and intimate moments of a discovery, metamorphosis and truly painful bits of going astray…

And I’ve experienced months passing like weeks and those weeks making me older like one would got in years; childlike and often purely vain self-importance has been interweaving with the periods of self-abuse and self-denial…I made great plans and watched them going to pieces in one small push of fate; I hoped and got disappointed; I gave hope and let others down… My entire worldview and personal identity has been challenged dozens of times and I’ve never felt so powerful and so meaningless in my whole life…

And that’s all because of one decision made over three years ago – to study/make art – decision being continuously and not without a struggle refreshed almost each day…

Yes, art can be and is a severe yet quite compelling mentor and a guide – it knows no masters, truths, rules or logic beyond its own ones; it crowns with immortality and it devours without a blink of an eye.

This period of my study – final months of going towards the first degree in fine art is the time of humility and humiliation – I’m being put down by my own work, simply because it reads me perfectly – that neither my head or my heart are in charge as they should have been… So I’m producing substitutes, broken cups – useless right from the beginning, still-born paintings which I desperately try to revive and the ‘display’ work – to convince myself (yet not my tutors) that I’m in a good shape… I’m not prepared for a defeat yet, I’m not prepared to paint bad paintings, to be rejected and to admit my impotency, the limits of my imagination and mental capability; I’m unable to accept any help and to give much more than is expected of me…

And that’s why I’m not ready to be an artist yet… I may become a graduate in art, I will not become a painter… Unless I will find a way to cease to be – me myself – the biggest obstacle and enemy of my own work.


%d bloggers like this: