Renaissance of Art


Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
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While the world is experiencing the breakup of a new century, we are living in this new era by forming “expressions” a bit of everything. We try to fit our lives in one hour periods even in one minute periods while we are shooting a glance on the news papers, books, magazines; and surfing on internet and answering our mobile phones.
Within this futuristic traffic jam, countries are uniting and splitting almost with the same speed. Happiness, sorrow, and rage are so short-lived. On the one hand the number of art and artist is rapidly increasing; on the other hand the saying, “we live in the most developed age” becomes so hollow and nostalgic…
We are able to learn only a tiny little part of future, no matter how imaginative the artists and science fiction designers are.
For example, it is a mystery if a thousand years later Picasso’s products will still be attractive and artistically valuable? If movies of directors such as Kubrick, still be popular to watch? Or, will it be possible for icons like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and Elvis Presley to sustain their popular identities?
 It is worth remembering that only until 20th century, art was based on remembering a “thing” (let alone dreaming). The most important feature of art was to “truly” reflect the most “valuable” thing of a society; and the aim of this reflection and representation was to immortalize it.On the other hand, thanks to the invention of camera, for the first time, the questioning process of “representation” started in the area of art. That is; the procedure to transfer what is seen to the work of art, was not appreciated anymore because camera was perfectly successful to do that. Therefore, the function of artist was the same with the camera.
As a result, maybe the biggest breakup of the history of art took place and art got rid of its heavy body, the obligation to represent. Consequently, the artist had to question and define the concept of art by creating new areas for himself.
The concept of “talent” should also be changed for the artists, if painting what is seen was trivialized. If a tiny little machine was the most talented one regarding imitation, then would an artist become a camera, too?
Along with the invention of photography the period that stimulates impressionism and the well-known “ism” movements were started. One of the pioneers of this attitude was Marcel Duchamp, he said that, “if a machine can do the job of an artist, then artists should abandon this attitude”. He further supported this idea by putting a urinal at the center of an art gallery. As a result, the common thought that “artists should be talented” lost meaning. The fact that technological products are more functional than hand made products, brought about a (hidden) resentment. If human beings cannot produce as perfectly as a machine, then they should embrace and defend their flaws. At this point Manet’s formal carelessness in his art (random brush stroke) and heterodox attitudes towards social morality can be seen as the symptoms of this case. Perhaps this was one of the most important reasons that Duchamp selected urinal as the most offensive object.
Furthermore, the outbreak of the world wars and their devastative atmosphere led artists to cry out the irrationality, meaninglessness, ridiculousness, and contradictoriness of life. Dadaists were trying to avenge upon the machines by painting weird and grotesque machines. On the other hand, pop art artists were sometimes popularizing and sometimes folklorizing the daily life. The doctrine of surrealists was based on the idea that there is another world beyond the one that we live in and it is much more real. Futurists went beyond and argued against traditional forms and institutions; and even supported the idea of war.
At this point modern art transformed into a platform, in which maybe the craziest figures of its history were changing their opinions. Names like Dali, Picasso, Magritte, Chagall, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Warhol, Beuys, and Carl Andre always came to the fore due to their life styles and work of arts.
Until 20th century, interaction of all these formal elements in art and cracking of concepts deep inside brought about the atmosphere loss in the work of art. Along with the technology, considering an artwork within the mass-production process was started to be in question. As a result, a work of art was not required to be in its original place anymore, it was possible to see it in everywhere.
When a work of art in a museum became visible on books, t-shirts, reproductions, and calendar pages; then it was not “unique” anymore, and its message would change (beforehand the artwork was “unique” in its original place, it created an atmosphere -aura- for itself and that atmosphere would affect the meaning of the artwork). On the other hand, once the place was changed its meaning would change too; hence, that artwork would be evaluated differently wherever it was seen. The meaning of La Jokond (Mona Lisa) in a museum was not the same anymore with the meaning in a butcher store. Work of art was leaving the meaning relationship with its first place, and it started to change its meaning in every new place that it showed up.
Modern art was breaking the common traditional patterns; it was refusing the composition and detaching the form from the content. Late in the 1980’s a new spirit of art was emerging Postmodernity. Postmodernists refuted what modernists claimed, the unity of meaning within the work of art, and argued that an artwork does not have a meaning as a whole. Instead of modernists’ “innovative” attitude advocating the idea that humanity will progress; postmodernists claimed that the progress of humanity cannot form step by step, it is not possible to analyze history from a horizontal and developing perspective, it should be analyzed homogenously.
Today this limitless world of creativity, which opened with classical photography a hundred years ago for these naughty children of art, reopens in front of us, the digital photographers. This 140-year adventure that followed impressionism along with the invention of photography; today, witnesses the alliance of digital photography and paint. This is a new formation, which emerges through the combination of drawing with light (photography) and color, drawing with light. In a period that the motto is “everything has already done”, maybe we are entering to a period that this respiratory system and vital points of art are repaired and the circle of art and the mass of community are included.
Renaissance of art…
Ali Alışır
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