On Art & Experience

Changes in art come about through changes in perception, through revelations. These are never purely intellectual realizations. They are far more complex than that. Modernism did not come out of one's mind, but came out through the help of all one's senses, out of one's whole being, mind, body, with whatever we call the soul thrown in the bargain. Truly original & novel ideas are not born out of concepts, like rabbits out of a hat, as the art world seems to have recently assumed, but out of a deep experience of time, one's own time, the past, the future & one's beliefs within that framework. Ideas should come out of experience, not the other way around.

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e are living through a revolution: the advent of the information age. But this revolution has not been taking place in our streets, or parks, or nearby battlefields. It is invisible and resides within the labs, in programming classes, in shafts under the pavement, in chips in hard drives. Its consequences are very real, of course, but you can walk down the street and not know it is going on. Well, apart from the odd book shop closings.

So where is the front? Where are we to get our transformative experiences from? The internet is a treacherous river. At every bend, the traveler will be met by seductive sirens, who will drag men, women, and children alike into a vortex of madness & confusion... The internet gives us information, but it can't give us experience, despite numerous claims to the contrary. Pornography is not the same as having real sex, unfortunately. Observing a battle on an actual battle field, while it is taking place, is obviously a very different thing from seeing it on TV.

On the internet one can find everything, except experience, and we are, more than ever before, removed from the real. Therefore, to be at the heart of this revolution (the digital revolution) and to experience this new modernity, is in fact to remove oneself from experience, and from the moral and existential contradictions one's physical presence at an event does inevitably bring with it. Therein lies the paradoxical nature of our experience of our time.

Our days are punctuated by moments of absence: phone calls, emails, chat, social networking, Skype, Play- station, internet surfing, porn...not to mention all the music and the streams of images running constantly in the background... like archaeologist, we now have to dig and sieve through all this in order to find traces of our own presence.

Great works of art are leaps into the unknown, into the murky and unclear depths of experience. After they effect us in a way that is not dissimilar to how experiences effect us. In one way or another, at one level or another, that transform us, even if we are rarely certain as to how or when the process takes place.

Excerpts from Elephant Magazine #5
by Marc Valli

    "What I am seeing is not real and not the unreal, but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race"
      Amedeo Modigliani

    "I no longer shall paint interiors with men reading and women knitting.   I will paint living people who breath and feel and suffer and love"
      Edvard Munch

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