Friday 20 March 2015

Art, Artist, Analysis and Annales

The era of post-modernism has come with a breaking off from the regular canons of aesthetics to something avant-garde and something that was inconceivable even a few decades before the onset of post modernism. What post-modernism gave to the world was a socio-realistic form of art which juxtaposed the whole notion of modern lifestyle, as confusing and as dissipative in nature as it is, into art, the result being something so exquisite and revealing that it has still left some questions about the sustainability of art in the modern era. The question arises now, in the validation of everything that comes into the mind of an artist into an art form, without the restrictive schools that would judge the form by its order, by its construction, which are absent now, and the artist has the proverbial freedom to call a stain on the wall a form of art, and here rises the question whether art can still be perceived as objectively as it was or whether it has become completely susceptible to changing opinions and changing perceptions, that one person may regard it as the highest art from whereas another person might completely disregard the importance of the art form as a bastard piece of art. It is this perception of the people about the art, and more that we seek to clarify further, in our analysis of what actually is post-modern art is in microscopic, macroscopic and fractal levels, each having its own importance to a certain section like the microscopic aspect which deals with the individual and the art, the macroscopic aspect deals with the society and the art and the fractal approach deals with the notion of artist and art, encompassing effects of both the individual and the society on the art form, the other way round.

The microscopic approach of the art is completely dependent upon the frameset of the individual and his psycho-analytical critique of the art form completely ignoring the affiliation of the art form, if it has any, to a particular school of thought. The theory behind the judgment of an art form can be many, ranging from the emotional indulgence of the piece to its realistic significance on the life of the individual, to the extent that the individual would call himself ‘touched’ by the art which itself implies a level of indulgence in the art in a relative sort of way. This often happens with a realistic piece of art or something that pertains to the emotional sentiments of the human being and reflects it like the theory of Aristotelian mimesis. The other aspect of critical appreciation is being ‘lost’ in the art which often happens between an individual and an abstract piece of art, whose meaning is latent and it is on the individual to find its meaning and so there is a direct connect with the abstraction of the art and the psychology of the individual. This kind of indulgence is dissimilar to that indulgence that occurs with respect to a realistic piece of art. If an art is surreal, it appeals the inner psychology of the viewer or the reader and the art can well be defined as meaningless, but if we examine the art microscopically dissecting each factor that constitutes the art, we find an indulgence with the art form through our whole process of understanding the art, which is termed as being ‘lost’ in the art. There are many other forms of critical appreciation through the microscopic aspect, for instance art can also be philosophical and hence give its patrons the knowledge and wisdom of philosophy, without directly imposing upon them the constructive phrases of philosophy. Many forms of literature, particularly in the mid-nineteenth century had a heavy influence of philosophy in their works, particularly French writers. Much of Nerval’s work is based on societal philosophy which hangs like a bookmark through his works and it is particularly that philosophical understanding of French society during that age that the readers feel compelled to read about in his works. We shall, in our course of analysis, look through Rousseau, due to his avant-garde outlook in his works all though his existence, once more through a different aspect too.

Now, we take to the macroscopic aspect of understanding a work of post-modernism. When we talk about any macroscopic perception, there is generally a collective approach based and we know that opinions highly bias and shape a collective perception, and sometimes public opinions can be stronger in determining the worth of an art form through this approach than the actual skill of the artist of the class and brilliance of the work in a macroscopic perspective. We shall see now how artistic public opinions come to shape. Like any other piece of public information, public opinions too, graft out of the dialectics, intellectual debates and privileged critiques of ‘artistic bourgeoisie’. 

This artistic bourgeoisie is the determinant of worth or worthlessness of an art form and it is comprised of the so called manufacturers of consent, the print media, the established artists and the enterprise of intellectuals. However just their review of an art may be, it is bound to be biased in some way or the other, maybe through the frameset of the society, the general social conditions or conflicts between the artists. Apart from these direct factors, there are also some indirect modes or agents that affect the interpretation of an art form which are often overlooked or not given serious consideration. These agents include things like the theme and genre of the art from. While there is sufficient interest in the theme and genre, one would say, still there has been little to determine what particular theme or what particular genre would a post-modern piece of art like a meta-fiction or a split-fiction or an anti-fiction falls into. Neither is there a fixed genre for these works nor is there a need for a better understanding of these post-modern sub-spheres. Albeit, these agents affect highly in forming the public opinion about art work, we still waste our resources predicting the ‘popular genre’ instead of understanding the ‘popular movement’ behind that genre. These are some aspects of perception through macroscopic analyses and the factors that affect this analysis. However, the essence of the macroscopic perspective is incomplete without the socio-economic conditions that the work is expected to pertain to. For example, at the time of Rousseau, the French revolution aroused a diversion of public opinions which was very strict, rigid and opposing. On one hand were the pro-revolutionists and on the other the anti-revolutionists and in this tumult, Rousseau sought the essentiality of neutrality and readily became the bridge between the French bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

This brings us to the fractal approach where we take into consideration, in a very bemusing and innovative way, as innovative as post-modernism technically is, the amalgamation of the macro and the micro perspectives and prove that how both of these aspects can be satisfied without essentially back-firing and leading to the disvalue of post-modern art form. The fractal approach is the nonlinear approach wherein we assess the art form from a completely different manner, not assertively but in a way society generally does but not as healthily and as frequently as it should and even if it does, it lacks the ability to make fractal analysis the generalized manner of assessment of post modern art. What we have to understand while looking at post modern art is that it may or may not cater to our specific needs and we shouldn’t disregard the quality of a good artwork if it doesn’t. What we basically need to do is to look not just at the art but also at the artist, not in a way that we need to acquaint ourselves with what the artist thinks about his work, but we need to simply treat the artist also as a form of art.

In the age of post-modernity, there has been aroused a certain associative tendency in us that we tend to label as ‘stereotype’. This characteristic, the so called stereotyping is actually looked down upon by the society, but in a way this stereotypical view gives us a scope for generalization of certain things that are too infinitesimal to be determined otherwise. So what we might think is a ‘stereotypical thought process’ and is supposedly is flawed is actually not flawed but a super-intelligent form of taxonomic organization that is beneficial for our understanding of things, but the problem lies in our misuse of this capability. Let us now focus on this stereotypical thinking on the post-modernist movement of the twenty first century. Through our inherent, thought process of generalization, we have already started associating the artist with the art, making the artist something more than the mere imitator of emotions; we make the artist the emotion itself. When we look the art form through this generalized notion, we involve ourselves mildly, if not totally, with other works of the artist also, and in that manner, we associate the art to the general mood of the artist, making the artist itself a ‘genre’ of his art. This perspective is very evident in film and entertainment where certain actors associate themselves with genres, and while they limit themselves to these genres, they also help in defining and redefining the genre by their works, like action heroes or romantic heroes, who are known for their works specifically in that genre. This kind of free but associative self-organizational school of divergence is lacking in the era of post-modernism, which we dearly need. Through mutual and self-association of the artist with the art, or the manufactured association by the critics of the artist with the art will help us define and in a better way, characterize post-modernity in the movement of art in the twenty first century.

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