PESSIMISM AND VIOLENCE AS A TOTALITARISM OF BANALITY. THE ROLE OF ART
Debate Contents: 1.
Pessimism and Violence as a Totalitarism of Banality.
The Role of Art 2. About Art 3. Artist's Declaration 4. International
(This is a long piece and translated from Russian
us are able to watch the world /society/ through our own windows.
But when we have opened our windows, the world comes to us - and
we became something whole with the world. Each person has his/her/
own interaction with world /society/ according to what person sees
through the window, which steps a person would like to do - i.e.
which senses and tasks a person does appoint , and what ideas coming
to the person from the world.
We are living by ideas.
I would like to say that the human nature needs open ideas and cannot
exist being closed inside of ideas which are not able to be developed.
It is possible to call them the totalitarian ideas. All of them are old
as the world, mere new colorations only. The development of ideas is a
slow process compared with the length of human history. But each person
needs to take part to make one's own life and destiny - it is a necessity
to have a possibility of the heuristic life.
But why people do not use this possibility, why we are the pessimists
sometimes living a spiritually impoverished life? It happens when we are
deceived by the new colorations of the totalitarian ideas where the heuristic
life is impossible. If we are not happy - that means we are deceived by
some kind of totalitarism. It could be called a totalitarism of banality.
Maybe it is the most dangerous kind, because it's more total and it uses
a more total means of propaganda. Pessimism and violence are the results
of the totalitarian banality which are becoming a part of this kind of
According to the American statistics,40% of Americans believe that the
nuclear war will happen in their lives, 28% say no. It looks like people
are dreaming about suicide, because if people believe - that, it also
means they are dreaming of oblivion.
The general human notions of freedom, sense, love, life, death, which
form the basics of personal freedom, are at stake. It is a symptom of
totalitarism in the society. The modern totalitarism could be understood
as mass-culture, a total propaganda of the primitives in all spheres of
life. But all of them could be classified as a banality - i.e. an enforcement
to live inside closed ideas.
The different variations of totalitarism in history had been connected
with territorial wars, always, However, an infection of totalitarism had
never been diffused over the whole world before. The spiritual vacuum
can be filled up by primitive horror. Movie horro is becoming the norm
for many societies (See Palestine.) This kind of totalitarism makes people
crazy as each one of them.
People are afraid to lose themselves - to lose their individuality, their
freedom, their independence. Sometimes people understand the world as
constant struggle - the personal struggle. People shut themselves down.
But the closed soul is a poor soul, which has became a victim of the totalitarism
of banality. The realization of life and destiny is possible in authentic
human communication which can be given by Art and Culture.
That culture only could be a religion in the atheistic world. Maybe it
is the best universal kind of religion now. The culture of each nation
reflexes the common process of searching for the human senses. Man is
open, man is looking for the sense.
All cultures are similar by a humanism of the general human questions.
But we are the victims of a totalitarism of banality already, and then
we are not able to see that a king is naked. The recognition will be not
so fast because the intellectual schemes, which close our souls and do
not let a real human communication to be between us, must be changed.
The real communication makes each individuality more wide and happy. Only
art can be in the beginning of this process. The circle of viewers with
whom artist can engage in a productive intellectual and emotional relationships
can be expanded for all of us because a culture is understandable for
everybody but not only for the small circles of the specialists. The dialectic
of an authentic life can be turned back to people by means of Art and
Beauty will save the world.
The artist finds himself/herself standing before the gulf, which has bewildered
the philosophers and scientists, theologians and theosophists. From this
point of view one can understand the prophecy of Fyodor Dostoyevsky "Beauty
will save the World".
RE. I guess that depends on which scientists and philosophers you are
talking about. My own views of those subjects get along quite nicely.
This sense makes no matter to divide art into types, schools, and styles.
I think that there are all kinds of good reasons to identify schools,
types, and styles. If you see something new you can understand the elements
of it by saying that this school uses that technique all the time, but
for different reasons, or that style has such and such a problem which
in this case isn't a problem, or is made worse by some factor or other.
Whether you like it or not, there are patterns of methods and styles and
understanding them requires generalization and abstracting them away from
the specific works.
RE. It is impossible for artists to be style-less. A style is a language
of art, and I intended to say another one - the poet uses a language,
but the dictionary-book is not a poem. The classification of art occasionally
can exchange art as the trees do not allow to look at the forest. If there
were not the trees, then there would be not a forest also. But at the
present day some art and art-criticism looks like something which is only
classifying the terms and schools and making nobody free. Yet man, either
the ancient or the contemporary one, cannot be contented with the finite
The masterpieces of non-applied type were created by the old masters in
the frame of their shops, which were understood as handicraft ones. Just
so a poet transforms the common speech into the poems.
The artists of new times have used the means of the fine arts of any schools.
Somebody went along regal ways (A great one does not need the imitators).
The invention of one's own specific style is not fruitful either.
They are the special guards of the handicraft arts. Strictly speaking,
the distinction of styles is possible for their works only. But the hand
and the mind of artist are recognized in the each work, and it is not
a style. It is impossible to say: the Rembrandt-style, Picasso-style,
such as impossible to say about any man "He(She) has lived and died
in the style of
For example Symbolism art, grown of the basis of romantic world-vision,
did not create either schools or styles. Moreover all, arisen from its
depths and shaping up, were inevitably moving away from it, ceasing to
be a symbolism in the sense and meaning, for example "Art nouveau"
Symbol is not just a thing among things. Due to its universality, it is
similar to man.
The human person, being of something distinct, binds the whole World,
stays the measure of All. Symbolism is Art for art. Such as Life for life,
being open to everything, is coming to All completely.
Art is unable to be a server or material for anything. Art contrasts itself
just with nothing. Man is always the purpose.
RE. I think that is transparently false. Art can serve a wide variety
of purposes. It can educate, enlighten, it can propagandize, excite, pacify,
RE.Art does not serve. All that purposes are getting by the way. But if
art, in this sense, can be compared with a man, then it is possible to
say that a purpose of art is a man always. All above listed purposes are
actuated by this one purpose.
But that huge part of propaganda, which called the mass culture, has the
purpose of annihilation the concept "man" at all, the diametric
purpose. It is not an art from this point of view.
Everybody is not slave-born. Each person hashis or her own simple way,
and it gives integrity to life. There are not similar days in life, and
artist is not like a copying device. Life is united on the whole, but
the past is not stable. Every new day corrects the sense of all we have
lived through, such as every new day makes the alterations of all previous
ones by reflection on them.
Everything being created by artist is a consistence.
Each thing does not lose the self-sufficiency, everyone of them is correlated
with everything else with Culture and all. It resembles a time material
of Eternity, which concentrates in the each moment of a present without
remains, such as the whole human life is concentrated in the one present
RE. I'm afraid that these two little paragraphs are just contentless babble.
What did you really intend to say?
RE. We are carrying Eternity by the moments of our lives. This kind of
thinking lets us to feel the life as an integrity, as a part of the humanity
and the history.
James Ensor wrote "I feel sorry for the artists with set styles,
which are condemned to monotonous work upon given samples, because they
are deprived of possibility to advance. They are not familiar with the
happiness of discovery, they are walled up in their shells of the reasonable
wariness. They are the machines of identical reproduction with their slave's
imagination and hands. They are closed to every effort, sentenced to be
an infertility of the nice and easy available styles, which are constantly
reproduced by them, without moving either back or forward - still-born,
bogged down in the past".
There are not any isolated schools with their specific secrets and styles,
except handicraft ones.
It is impossible to submit art to the tyranny of dogmas.
RE. What makes you think that the only reason for the existence of styles.
RE. That was the historical cause of the appearance of styles indeed.
But the art permanently grows from any courses as a dragonfly from a larva.
If there was not a larva underwater, then would not be also dragonfly
in the sky - though the pseudo-styles are understanding as a commercial
possibility. The sense of the phrase of Fyodor Dostoyevsky that art is
an alone orb accessible by all people, where Plato and Aristotle are together.
The eternal dialog of Plato and Aristotle. Two modes of the thought are
not able to live each without other. Being together always they are a
whole one. Or they should vanish together with man. The future of planet
depends of peoples' minds. Each form of totalitarian thinking, including
terrorism for example, is the wrong thought first.
Art is open to life completely, with each atom, and alive until no localized
up. Being in the process of going out from itself, in the process of self-formation.
Art is constantly embracing Infinity.
RE. This is more babble. What are you trying to say (if anything)? If
art were not constantly embracing infinity what would that mean?
RE. The totalitarian ideas are not maintained by the dialectic schema
which describes an art. Art and totalitarism are incompatible always.
Totalitarism always was straggling against art, was trying to kill art
and artists, to change an art by the propaganda of mass culture, because
where art is - totalitarism is impossible. But art has always stayed alive,
so the humanity had always won the totalitarian infection of the thought.
The modern kinds of totalitarism - a totalitarism of banality - will be
won also in spite of the widest means of mass propaganda using by them.
The sense of the phrase "Beauty will save the world" that art
is able to save the beauty of human soul. The Era of New Renaissance is
artist's declaration from the special art-exhibition at the Royal Hall
of Hotel Eggers at the time of European Conference 15 - 17 June, 2001.
THE ERA OF A NEW RENAISSANCE IS COMING
Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said "Beauty will save the world".
Russian poet Iosif Brodsky reword him in Swedish Nobel Lecture. Brodskiy
"Probably it is impossible to save the world already, but to save
the separate man is always possible".
But the world consists of people. Each person of the world is awake to
dream of the last century. Happiness and the human dignity can be arrived
at by means of art only, but not by politics and a "mass culture".
Art and humanism is similar.
Twentieth century was a century of "mass culture".
It was the modern myth about an "average man" who has an average
life and needs "mass culture" only. But I have met the average
men among the foolish political gamesters with their primitive ideology,
which enforced people to live in the average totalitarian world, and among
the ignorant art-dealers as well, which was committing a"mass culture"
war against people.
People win in the war of banality against them.
Man doesn't want to be the "average man" any more.
That idea stayed in the last century.
People do not need foolish ideology and ignorant art-myths.
People need a humane life and authentic art.
Man is always the purpose.
International Cultural Program CULTURE AGAINST VIOLENCE The idea of the
International Cultural Program *Beauty will save the World * has been
aroused among Swedish, American, Polish, and Russian artists in Gothenburg,
The Program *Beauty will save the World * (according to the prophecy of
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1821 - 1881) is against the violence over the world.
The Artists' Declaration about the role of art in the modern society could
be heard from the special Art-exhibition, which was organized at the Royal
Hall of Hotel Eggers at the time of European Conference 15 - 17 June,
2001. But the riots, which were made in Gothenburg by the violent activists-demonstrators
from the different countries, did not let people hear us. The artists
from the different countries intend to lead off the wide cultural movement
against violence in the contemporary world.
Art and humanism is similar. Culture is an area of human activity, which
is appealing to the individual directly. The Program *Beauty will save
the World* is in the meaning of the growing role of art in the modern
society as the universal mode to prevent the violence by establishing
rapport between the different nations and cultures.
Curators of the Program *Beauty will save the World*:
Sergej Jakovlev (Sweden) http://www.ukartists.org/links.htm
Charles Ford (USA) http://www.artfactory.nu/charleskatalog/index.htm
Nikolay Tioply (Russia) http://www.rusmuseum.ru/ru/Abstract/naiv/naiv.html
JAKOVLEV, painter, member of IFA. 1958 Born in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine; 1981-1986
Studied at Krivoy Rog Pedagogical University, speciality of Fine Art;
1987-1993 Studied at Leningrad Academy of Art under Boris Ugarov's and
Viktor Reihet's guidance; 1995 Membership of St. Petersburg Branch of
Professional Creative Artist's
Union of International Federation of Artists UNESCO. Now is a painter
Main exhibitions 1989 "Postsymbolism" The Majakovsky Library,
St. Petersburg; 1990 "100 Years of Russian Symbolism "House
of Friendship with Foreign
Countries, St. Petersburg; 1990 "Modern Art of Leningrad" Palitro
Art Gallery, St. Petersburg; 1991 "Gifts of TV-Marathon "Vosrozdenie"
to the collection St. Petersburg Museum of Modern Art"; 1992 "The
Russian Symbolism" Umerov Russian Art Gallery, Minneapolis, USA;
1992 Exhibition Na Solianke Gallery, Moscow; 1993"Postsymbolism"
Exhibition Hall Hotel Ritm, St. Petersburg; 1994 "Postsymbolism"
Forum Art Gallery, St. Petersburg; 1997 "The Biblical Symbols"
Forum Art Gallery, St. Petersburg; 2001 "Adding Beauty to the World"
Gallery Galax - The Art Factory, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2001 Hotel Eggers,
Gothenburg, Sweden - exhibition and Artist's Declaration
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