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The aesthetic and political dimension of social sculpture as an ecology of denial.

A comparison with Beuys' positions.

Towards a 21st century artistic manifesto.

Konstantinos Angelou

Trans. from Greek by Aglaia Pantelaki

 

 

The line is always drawn to a specific direction: The aesthetic we propose attempts a form and a content by taking a position that does not waive its political character, a character of denial and at the same time a reference to a positivity, an ideal and a value, referring to the role of the artist as well as of the art historian as value-oriented. How could art, moreover, remain uninvolved and neutral towards social stakes when it obtains a definition that expands to life, or, in a nutshell, when its definition is expanded to the social sphere? Here, the term "life" should be supported. However, we have to deny traditional cases where the role of the artist falls into some narrow, ideological propaganda[i]. In this respect, we ought to subsequently explain ourselves. But, in order to seek art through life, we are necessarily, albeit extensively, led, on the one hand, to language and social institutions, and, on the other hand, to the meaning of social action and the worlds it creates. Only within such a broader framework can we re-establish art.

Initially speaking about the institutions and their political role, we mean, of course, their bodies and practices, every institution as well as everything that builds a structure, a system, an environment of thought. These systems always include, on the one hand, the discourses, the legislation and rules, their texts and their prospects; here we find the strategies, the methods, the interconnections, the syntheses and, finally, knowledge. This is a coordinated social machine as well as a machine of language, thought and actions, an entire symbolic system, which is always built with signs that we should realize much more than anything else, because we are artists. Behind the linguistic systems latently exist unsung powers that be, built upon almost invisible basic discourse structures[ii] (including, of course, art), upon key factors of thinking and existing, upon value-factors, upon foundations.

The role of the artist -if he makes art in terms of constructive poetics- is to juxtapose and at the same time unify the real with the imaginary by releasing it from the individually linguistic. Within the framework of individual arrangement, and through a lot of struggle, a new imaginary subject can then be assumed, which expands to new possibilities of the object as well as to new worlds that constitute not only worlds of art, but also worlds of existence, worlds of human potential. It is an oxymoron that this very obvious political dimension of art, which has been used since ancient times by those in positions of power, is at the same time the one they deny in respect to its general social character and function. Examples of political use of art can be found in all ancient and modern civilizations. From the monuments of Pharaohs and the coins with emperors' busts to the art of modern propaganda politics and advertising[iii].

Art claims the creation of spaces for the habitation of the social imaginary[iv]: The spaces art re-founds for the social imaginary stand for overall overwhelming the political and at the same time existential components of life, the basis of the common experiential space, the background of feelings about life and the world, the place where we experience desires. This regards the key components concerning what we feel as real, the physical dimension of life[v], what art should implicitly aim and primarily aims for, where symbol and language constitute only a secondary dimension.

So let us immediately pose the question: In which existential horizon is it possible to reveal the possibility of an independent art? Can this term of independence be supported and create a meaning in a society that classifies and organizes the different approaches, the prerequisites in the actions of people and in history, in a common system? Modern science founds the variety of art definitions one-dimensionally: While the universe of concepts in art is apparently being reshaped constantly, the overall "endangerment" of art remains socially and politically inert within the social sphere. In order to form a better theoretical viewpoint, it would be interesting to see art history itself as a control and discipline subsystem of the expressive factor within the overall socio-institutional construct, as some kind of legal framework that builds a system of power, an institution with employees at its service. Art theory would then be nothing but a kind of decrees that contributed to the practice, and current history of art, the exemplary rule of meaning.

The philistinism[vi]of modern scholars of all kinds was and is the hallmark of a decadent modern humanity. Conversely, one could argue that at least what superficially seems to be validated today -in our new "happy" world and especially in the art we are currently interested in- is the refusal of a value discourse that eventually implies a refusal to investigate its criteria as well as its meaning in general. I think it is no coincidence that, since at least half of the last century, this has been going hand in hand with the rise of a new global totalitarianism, a society of unprecedented depreciation of man and his "classical" moral foundations, an act that is certainly associated with the explosive development of technology.

We would then, after all, very easily observe that the power discourse nowadays does not need to exist as a final theory in art, that is, as a moral reflection explicitly expressed, but as a self-referring subject of speech articulation that imposes the very subjectivity or the whim of its words, a strategy presented as an autonomy of art. The rejection of this moral discourse (a discourse about the human meaning of act - and, thus, of art) is, on the other hand, consistent with an autistic metaphysical epistemology, which ultimately entails the underlying morality of the arbitrariness of domination.

I clarify that, nowadays, this official discourse -as well as the definition of art itself- is based on the overall postmodern ideology, that is, on a great system of confronting the discourses - an internal-hidden regularity that holds the position of valueness even if it denies it with respect to anything else. The peculiarity of this ideology is this particular -merely superficial- denial of the valueness that indirectly imposes the special desire of the powerful for power, that is, of the establishment of those standards that suit them, depending on each occasion, according to their will. This flexibility of standards constitutes nowadays the basic aesthetic criterion, which is nothing but an ideology of contemporary art, the strategic function of which consists in the abolition and relativisation of every moral foundation within an entire commercialized culture.

The discourses of this general or specialized subject that lies behind the people who "seemingly" practice the dominant public art correspond nowadays, after all, to an imaginative denial of opinion, to a culture of easy phantasmagoria, to a world of acceptance of the unexpected (but not that much free) experimentation, with a final notion of denying the criticism of the technical power's new arbitrary functions to the depths of the self. These new tactics impose, ultimately, as a feeling of state, a "plastic" and disrupted sense of individual and collective identity on social process and social existing, the feeling of destruction we all experience. What we conceive here is not a world of freedom but a conquest of imagination in reverse.

Social sculpture is, on the contrary, the returning of art to society, to a society that is open to the strange influences that sometimes alter the interpretation of the work of art by keeping it alive at a level beyond the "sterile" and "neat" perceptions of the experts, at the level of spontaneity of ordinary people. The challenge of desire is to have art as art, that is, as a catalyst for the change of social reality and at the same time as a center for awakening human authenticity. The multitude of people, the predominant basis of reality, is now required, through an act-communion of aesthetic and at the same time of moral participation, to become active, that is, to regain its lost autonomy as a social and historical subject. The artist has to select critically -that is, philosophically- a level of expression and a kind of "form" that excludes inhuman and dismissive components, aiming at a process of fulfilling human existence.

The deadlocks of the modern world and human suffering are necessities that require the reorientation of art towards a morality of a "human ecology" that trusts the creative ability of all human beings and places the future of the planet on them. Experience has shown that the continuous and contradictory rise of the subject in the West after the enlightenment as well as that of the subjective nature of the so much glorified work means nothing but the dissociation of the artist from the needs of society, resulting in his being sterilized in a closed and gloating universe, whereas the public is limited to a group of "experts" and "eminent". An art in society has to certainly reveal its pedagogical character, which is, however, not predominantly didactic but rather initiating, denying at the same time an abstract, self-reliant, isolated and isolating role controlled by the socially powerful. What opposes such a control is an art that is spread across the vibrant network of the city where its living entity becomes the social subject itself. When art fulfills its true social role, then its poetic influences, that is, the desire for creation, is magnified. On the contrary, the dissolution of every form of folk art[vii] in our century was a crime of imposition, the revelation of the modern totalitarian state.

Regarding the content of such an art, it is understood that the impasse of the rationalist conception of reality, the model of the manipulative practice of modern society and science, conceals the irreducible of human dimension.  The aesthetic of denial concerns a social sculpture that consciously establishes a new humane perspective, a consciousness with emotions, a moral philosophy with plastic means. Art should evolve into a moral philosophy provided with a body. A body with consciousness. Denial is introduced here with reference to a rational thinking that constitutes a hubris to the extent that it weakens or excludes basic needs, functions and contents of human existence.

Art has to attempt to restore the states of the general, towards an increasing tendency of specialization, which presents the exclusivity and generalization of the individual as "truth". The discovery of a harmonized and authentic life can only be attempted as the seemingly oxymoron of an identity without consciousness, as opposed to an individualized consciousness separated from things. We ought to eradicate the false identity[viii] referred to as self-restraint of the subject in the individual. This gradual eradication is at the same time a development of thought itself that contains and can accept the wholeness of life as a healthiness towards the destructive mania of a rationality that implies the denial of body and the devastating putting of emotions "in order". However, this direction does not refer to the rejection of reflection but to its completion, to the negativity of its form that contains both the concept and the rejection of its unilateralism, a reflection which, in its own dialectic opposition, exceeds its false integration in the cognitive unilateralism (identification) of data.[ix]

This separation can arise through the regeneration of the primary senses that are present even before the predominance of the concept that puts them in order, through an action of art that addresses the body, the basic processes and expressions of life. It is an art of limiting the unilateral mental principle of identity, which is ultimately a tendency towards death and denies the primary element of life, claiming the principle of generalized control and the "civilized" violence of the symbol.  Social sculpture shall be activated in the human body[x], in its relation to space, in the sense of unintervening and pure time, in the feeling of closeness and contact, in the emergence of the special and unique.  It portrays the history and the lived identity man constitutes as a relation to space, time and objects, which are not intangible but tangible, containing the social body of people, as well as the living world of the things that are continually regenerating around us.

At this point, we would like to make a first reference to Beuys[1]: "Plastic art", according to the artist, "is but a mental stimulus, ... that flows back into life again"[xi]. Plastic art is both thought and action. In addition, "Every expression, be it visual or verbal, establishes, thus, a broad information and organization model that touches everyone's experiences, which need not necessarily be rationally analyzed" (Adriani).[xii]

In this context of art, we can claim today that the road we are pursuing is wider, more comprehensive and deeper, concerning both the general means and the forms of social sculpture to be mentioned. The specific content of our interventions certainly contains the external -from the perspective of the spectator- reference to time, meaning and reflection of living experience that calls for the awakening of a feeling of selection. But, in serious opposition to Beuys, all these constitute cognitive consequences, elements that come in the end. What arises here as a basis and principle is not a mental argument, but the introduction to an intense and principal experience, an existential environment, a space-time that confuses more than it explains. The creative act, when extended, can connect logic and intuition in a project that often includes community and collective action, finding themselves all in a primitive and irritating unity with reference to the historicity of the primal human experience on the planet and in nature.

The feelings of sexual intercourse, the texture, the rhythm and the continuity of living forms, the connection and the composition with the natural world are those elements that have priority in a work that constitutes, first for itself and then for the others, a life model, a "living thing".   Creative acts -that lie beyond the correctness of a project and, therefore, are infinite- should restore this lost horizon and seek for the living part in man, acting like mythical sirens of lost pleasure, animal tension and serenity, the primary level where  the distance of forgotten life, thrown and unremembered in today's planned pointlessness, is being rediscovered.

The thematic cycle is not premeditated, but, since it is connected to man, it emerges through the process and discovery of the present as well as of the buried values that are evidently and unrepressedly ​​drawn from its eternal depths, in its pre-cultural identity. Key issues, such as man, the body, the landscape, the tree, the animal, the materiality and the feeling of the world, form, specifically, a reference to sensuality, to movement and to energy, denying, ultimately, in the vitality of being, the dominance of a rational and predetermined form physically and extralinguistically. When, of course, discourse becomes degraded into a sign and an inevitable symbol, this emerges in such a way that the unilateralism of its unity is, eventually, invalidated, and that it becomes negative,[xiii] concealing that uncommitted and unstated communication level.

As an example of the above effects can serve the difference of the scale that often signifies the distance from the event, while revealing, in other cases, a conceptual implication to the human effort required for the initiating goal.  But what matters to us is the mass, its space that transfuses the dynamics and time, the texture, the rhythm of breath and walking, the sound of the physical object we constitute ourselves. All forms of the work investigate their integration in this question of space-time and existence. It is a set of tangible but paradoxical, from the rational perspective, unscheduled and unprepared events, placed in an ex post classification after the special revelation of their tangible and peaceful dynamics. This eternal human ecology of life and expression, "thrown"[xiv] today in a daily and continuous alienation, comprises the primary relationship of man with the other that he, himself, is, an act that is embodied through the vertical plunge in space and time towards an extra-cultural environment, which is, at the same time, the finding of our primary body. This is an act that realizes an attempt concerning the crisis of human destiny, the tragic human experience of choice[xv] and, at the same time, the questions of identity and freedom.

By organizing such a form, the works-drawings do not tolerate the narrow depictedness, except when it arises as a basic body memory, and, much more than that, they adhere to sensuous fields that repel the mental and specific analyses that fall short of wealth and vitality, in comparison with the primitive forces or, better expressed, with the sophisticated emotions they mobilize. Opposite textures, volumes, flowing matter, the interplay of the forces the material itself and the color emit, the dynamics of sound and the tendencies of matter, the contrasts between the dense and the sparse, the flowing and free and the compact and specific, the changing and the stable, the biomorphic and the complex, the active and the passive, sensory stimuli syntheses aiming at awakening and emerging areas of primary emotions that, ultimately, determine another environment of life. The achieving of the lost humane perspective can only be accomplished through the use of materials that mark the path of the human being on Planet Earth. On the contrary, the abrupt discontinuation of the use of materials that have accompanied human existence for millennia, the present permanent loss of the primary matter, a fundamental part of the biological prehistory of the species, is nothing but the special expression-symptom of its separation from the natural world, which corresponds to a dominant aspect of the phenomenon of modern alienation.[xvi]

The act of uncovering the denial in the work of art constitutes a tendency for an urgent connection with the world and comprises a moral act that tends to an ecology of liberation that necessarily expands to basic relations containing the experience of the human being on the planet. Here, the particular morality of expression aims at criticizing and sensorially denying those symbols that derive from controlling cultural practices, forms that, reducing their essence to an abstract shape, express ways, methods and processes of domination on humans and nature. Faced with this fact, the counterpoint towards another perspective can only be expressed in a liberated physical (sexual and sensuous) relationship[xvii] that emerges from the "contact" in the relations between materials and creatures, a relationship that is more true as it arises from peaceful human spaces, from which feelings gush that oppose distortions arising from the historically evolving linguistic and classifying violence of "civilized" semiotic systems.

The quest for the artistic work as a living social act constitutes for us the denial of the fragmented dimension of the world, of a division or even dissolution of the world imposed by the authoritative control and recognized in every collage art promoted by the contemporary theory and practice of art. Integrated in the framework of an ecology of denial, the work advocates the continuity and unity of the secular and the social, a dimension of the world that emerges as a mixing of vital energy processes. This process is experienced as an action and as a denial towards an ontology that proposes the structure of a mechanically programmed deadness. The movement of the form should, on the other hand, stand in moderation to the unexpectedness of flow, too, that is, defend itself in favor of the cohesion of the living being that, however, finds itself in a personal and social continuity in space and time. This is a continuation that resists the modern political dimension of the complete opening of the body, of the destruction of the limits of the inside and the outside, which widely abolish the desire for the autonomy of the human being within the framework of a new and modern guiding "social mega-mechanics".

It is obvious that the new art ultimately concerns a new ontology that founds the artistic work on body and on the human pre-historical roots, establishing a dialogical form that, though denying both the modern partition and the full outline of traditional ontology, moderately bears with the osmosis that does not nullify, abolish or hybridize it, but relates it, according to its living measure, to nature and the world that forms a part of it. This is a stance that can remind us of Beuys's implications about "correlations and condensations that are related to the functions of the human body and the unity of soul and body" when Adriani tells us: "through an intuitive practice with the multi-faceted vacillations among past, universal and historical evolutionary processes, the problem analysis of which is constantly being established anew, he wanted to refer to subconscious but existing settlements of powers"[xviii].

As for the constructional part in these works, it is "primitive", that is, of craft-type, but this does not mean a denial of craftsmanship, but refers to the bases of life experience, not only as a survival - but as a parameter and as a principal version of the collective. The coinciding of the biological and the social: that is the obvious goal of a liberating ecological art, which constitutes a fundamental denial both of the closed, gloating discourse and of the division of the individual caused by its continuity in the modern scientific system of violence. The resulting references to recognizable forms, arousing a number of senses, can only move both towards universal-eternal experiences and towards evolutionary processes, paving the way to worlds hidden from the horizons of language.  What is principally detected and "internally" illuminated here are the unexpressed "texts" of lost understanding, while modern achievements seem to be uprooted from the eternity of time, without a homeland and a haven, lame tottering fragments. Being returns to its glorious habitat, a humble shack, where man breathes freely through all his pores because he revealed himself and the world.  Here, in this humble shack, it is proven how and why science, the servant of power, forgot man. 

The ecological impasse of the planet, but above all the loss of human happiness, a strong evidence of the deadlock and the falsehood of achievements, reveal the secret of human violence. Human history is violence. The very reason that establishes it is violence. What every art does is to mobilize the hidden vital forces, which, in their invocation, present man the forces that incarnate him. Its betrayal and perversion occur when, in the interplay of its discourses and symbols, emerge meanings, servants of dark powers and imposition relations. That is its guilt. The work ought to take a moral position in the era of the deadlock and the limit we experience, in the revelation of the living and dead body, it ought to awaken its meaning and its substance in space and time, not only in consciousness, but also in the feeling of the value of life in us. Historical religions and great empires have covered and transmuted the dynamic tension of human body into submission to worldly powers. Art should liberate man from his current impasse and that is why it must awaken his hypnotized physical-aesthetic core.[xix]

We can only refer to Beuys as the visionary and initiator of a new, more conscious, more contemporary concept of art:

"What interested him above all and what was crystallized through tests and analyses of the plastic correlations of powers were the undifferentiated forms of genesis, 'it was the element of life in man, his knowledge of the substance of time, movement, space'".[xx]

The interest in the liberating initiating power of primeval plastic processes resembles our own position concerning the revelation of living cosmic powers:

"Both the production of heat by bees and the construction of honeycombs constitute, in his opinion, primeval plastic processes that, in their organic and inorganic contradiction, clarify some principal motifs. On the one hand, there is a "chaotically flowing" axiom, which contains heat, and which, located in the original source, "has a perpetual potential kinetic energy". It resides in thermally sensitive materials, in candle and in fat, the unformed condition of which should be called amorphous, like their clearest form. On the other hand, we find crystalline geometrically structured formations that are created in many materials during their transition from the liquid or gaseous state to the solid and cold form". [xxi]

The artist's reference to the organic process ultimately leads him to a metaphysics that reveals the general in specific processes and species like bees: "Bees have, on the one hand, this thermal element, a very intensely flowing element, and, on the other hand, they mold plastic forms, which are crystalline, that is, they literally construct perfectly geometric structures".[xxii]

It should be noted here that a serious differentiation to the above positions constitutes the fact that our quest, however much we invoke concepts, does not refer to the finding of the general in the individual, but to the discovery of the individual in the individual, of the personal in the general, to the revelation of the special and unique, of what eventually is not crystallized in the concept and in the category, and of what, without abolishing them, surpasses them in this unapproachable from discourse, in this unconformable and uncategorisable, in what is often revealed as discourse scandal and as exclusive and unalienable truth of the free being[xxiii]. The material and its aesthetics constitute for us, in opposition to the artist (Beuys), not the intermediate, but the final, not the bearer of the message, but the very being itself that, being incapable of being provided with discourse, strikes it and excludes it as a secondary residue, as a superfluous and unnecessary packaging.

At another level of strategy, we can not consent to Fluxus's basic tendency for "a perfectly open artistic form without a common artistic line" as well. "The personal free form of actualization" can coincide in the ecological dimension of the art of denial with "the common intention of the participating spectators"[xxiv] only through an initiation stage. That is because, in the end, and after a whole exploration cycle on Beuys, we can agree with him that the ultimate goal is "the finding of innovative key experiences for the viewer"17 because "this way, he aims at disproving the leveling and the standardized way of thinking, at setting in motion an energy charge in the viewer, that would awaken in his consciousness a sensitivity towards human existence"[xxv] as a creative existence. However, the provocational character[xxvi] of the actions he set out as the principle of his choices can only be the indirect and honest result of the power of the sensuousness of art and not an aim of awakening a conscientious content that can only arise secondarily.

The value of the work is the very power of motivation towards life. Not a life of violence but a life of participation, collective wealth, harmony and connection. We conclude, therefore, that the purpose can not be the challenge but the succumbing to the charm[xxvii]. Nevertheless, we should disclose that this charm finds itself towards multiple social objections only when it is not integrated in, and limited to, the operational processes of surveillance and control networks and channels. We then have to discover the ways of communicating with the viewer and invite him to join us, not only in a common aesthetic experience, but in a joint action of changing the world that will emerge in the continuous influences of the self-revelation of the (internal as well as external) world, an act of social participation in rupture with the falsified forms of control and exclusion of the aesthetic.

With regard to all these, Andriani will bring Beuys's vision back to us:

"Beuys went so far as to see the experience of plastic creation as a constantly changing, alternating phenomenon that turns against anything that is fossilized and as a principle of an artistic formation of thought that includes all kinds of mind activity".[xxviii]

And elsewhere we read:

"The universal concept of art, this is, of course, the principle I would like to express with these materials, which ultimately refers to everything, to every morphoplastic action in the world. And not only to the artistic form-giving, but also to the social form-giving... or to other formulation and education issues. Every human question can only be a matter of form-giving, and this constitutes the universal concept of art. It refers to the capability of everyone to be a creative person in principle". 21

One point still needs to be clarified: Our agreement on a general morphoplastic power of art and the view that such an aesthetic component is embedded in all practical procedures of human life does not mean that the artistic act can be restored through events and operations at the practical and functional level, and yet that art can be regarded as a functional process. The point is delicate; That is why we believe in the necessity of a strategy for the establishment of an artistic conscience that can only involve a wider political factor implicating in an overall design a series of actors of the social system in one mega-practice that will transform their ecology and their content, a social action in the urban and virtual space of an overall cultural and, hence, political nature and at the same time of a character of cathexis and communion in contents and functions of denial as completion of identity and consciousness, as described.

It is not that much the images, but our relations to "things" and situations that art can "reveal". Plastic art, as conceived by Beuys, has broader plastic effects throughout life[xxix]. This way, and more specifically, art is nothing more than a political act and at the same time a mystagogy, a submersion in the depths of human prehistory, nature and the human body. Art can begin with the purely material work, as it should, and then be completed in the social action that leads to the transformation imposed by human existence in relation to its life in the world. Art is, ultimately, nothing but the act of self-realization of the human being and, at the same time, of the world. In this sense, every act and every thought does not cease to be at the same time a moral and, concurrently, an aesthetic and poetic act, a worldbuilding. The division and schism of man is lifted. The aesthetic, the logical and the moral level of man are reunited where human freedom emerges, understood as a plenitude of man in the world. Every person regains his lost creativity as an expression of his freedom.

To sum up, if, in the course of art history, some artists have come to realize that there is no (independent) art, without affecting power and the existing reason - thought, then this perspective -explicitly embodying a particular morality- has nothing to do with the new game or the imaginative, a symptom of the loss of the meaning of the world, but with another existential perspective. The loss of meaning in contemporary art, the pursuit of the constantly new in form, leads to an isolationist interpretation of the work, to an interpretation of a closed and gloating, autistic universe. A symptom of the overall postmodern ideology is the fear of the emergence of our general cultural environment in the analysis of art and the concealment of its relation to social and political contexts, the denial of the question of a moral value and of a humanity, in the name of a constant emigration of phantasmagoria under the conditions of media and market that imposes the ephemeral as consumable. These revelations should be constituted by a wider field of social participation, by a new ecology of art and man, contents that we call "social sculpture" or "ecology of the art of denial", disclosing their existential basis to society and the world.

Living and independent social art has other and absolutely positive ontological criteria than those actively used by the power system. Its denial lies "at the limit" of endangering language, of infringing the general, media-dominated social feeling of the situation. Independent art is negative towards the field that causes and destroys the perpetual and meaningless "development" as the only possibility of form, which even denies the "positivity of the new" when it is constituted by old powers that are being transmuted and that only change structures in order to dominate more. It is art that wants man to be less captured in the world of contemporary violence. It is an art that is pointed, not in order to pretend to be revolutionary, but for a world that is blissful substantially and beyond every verbality.

Paraphrasing Beuys, according to whom: "When man gets to know the power to define himself, then, a day will come that, based on this desire, he will create democracy"[xxx], we will say that the recognition of the power of self-determination is the discovery of our creative power that will arise through the submersion in the prehistory of our existence. This situation has nothing to do with the barbarian - primitive, but with the discovery of a lost being, in contact with nature and the community, master of its body and feelings, essential components in a spontaneously established democracy.

Real and liberated art is the art that refers to the man who determines himself in his full depth. But how can we talk about independent art without independent people, without an independent humanity? Is there anyone who can not see a strong contradiction there? In this very context lies the political action of art: Identifying itself, art can only target the moral sense of happiness, the defence of happiness, define everyone as a creator and "reject the conspiracy of politics with money"[xxxi] (J. Beuys). It is the art that shows its teeth not to swallow us up, but to smile at us.

 

Notes:

[1] Translator’s Note: All passages from Adriani’s work were translated from Greek into English.

 

[i]"The alternative solution" should "as far as possible refer to the causality of life, of man, of nature, of economy, of law, of cultural life, that is, it should be free from any ideology towards existing ideologies of Marxist or capitalistic nature, ideologies from the field of national economy or ideologies such as the ideology of dogmatized Christianity, that is, free from all kinds of ideologies that exist. We radically reject the conspiracy of politics with the power called "Money". This corresponds, of course, to the expanded concept of art, which derives from the fact that art is the only way to overcome this historic dilemma if one wants to define art more broadly than modern art does, that is, to define it, so that art in principle refers to human work, that is, to the creativity of man in his work, in everyone's work, according to the view that 'Every person is an artist'". Götz Adriani, Winfried Konnertz, Karin Thomas. Joseph Beuys, Leben und Werk, Köln 1986 [1973] (Götz Adriani, Joseph Beuys, Σχέδια, Αντικείμενα και Χαρακτικά. Μετάφραση Αικατερίνη Στεφανάκη, Institut für Aulandsbeziehungen και συγγραφείς, 1989)

[ii]For the actors of power, institutions, discourses and rules, see Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: The Will to Knowledge, Trans. Robert Hurley, New York: Pantheon Books, 1978 (Μισέλ Φουκώ, Η Ιστορία της Σεξουαλικότητας, τόμος 1ος: Η δίψα της γνώσης, μτφρ. Γκ. Ροζάκη, εκδ. Ράππα, 1982).

[iii]Art has been, directly or indirectly, used propagandistically -and, thus, politically- by all power systems, from the most ancient civilizations, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, to the contemporary cinematic propaganda of Hollywood, so much that it is difficult to regard an art to be free from its political element. Even folk art, if considered as an element of social expression - discourse, in the sense of the system of thought and practice, has, through the use of power, as defined by Foucault, as a system of knowledge-discourse-practice, an indirect political role.

[iv]For the term "Social Imaginary", see Cornelius Castoriadis, The Imaginary Institution of Society (trans. Kathleen Blamey), MIT Press, Cambridge 1997 [1987] (Κορνήλιος Καστοριάδης, Η Φαντασιακή Θέσμιση της Κοινωνίας, εκδ. «Κέδρος», 1978).

[v]Maurice Merleau Ponty, Phénoménologie de la Perception, Paris, Gallimard, 1945.

[vi]For the philistine way of thinking, see Nietzsche, F. (1997).Nietzsche: Untimely Meditations(Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) (D. Breazeale, Ed.; R. Hollingdale, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (Friedrich Nietzsche, Ανεπίκαιροι Στοχασμοί, (ΝΙΤΣΕ ΑΠΑΝΤΑ) ΕΚΔΟΤΙΚΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ, Δεκέμβριος 1996,σελ. 408,  μετ. ΧΡΙΣΤΟΔΟΥΛΟΥΣ. ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ).

[vii]For a reaction to this, see the Arts @ Crafts movement.

[viii] False Identity. The term is related to the term "false consciousness," as defined by Marx in The German Ideology, in its relation to ideology and the phenomenon of alienation. The Marxist perspective and the Critical School of Frankfurt continued this reflection, though questioned by Althuser. Having a purely epistemological approach, we believe that, as there is not one truth, there is not one lie as well.

[ix]In his "Negative Dialectics", Adorno was interested in such a completion of thought.

[x]Maurice Merleau Ponty, Phénoménologie de la Perception, Paris, Gallimard, 1945.

[xi]I refer to a concept of alienation extended to the aesthetic and existential field, far beyond than that of the Marxist perspective. The concept of alienation has been a multifaceted concern for the Western intellect that, after Plato and the neoplatonists, we meet again in the Enlightenment and in Rousseau. In the German materialists, the first one being Feuerbach with his work The Essence of Christianity (1841) and much more in Marx's works Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844) and The German Ideology (1846) that give a deep social and economic dimension to the phenomenon, equating it with the contemporary operating model of capitalism. Later in the twentieth century, the further development of the concept will interest existential philosophers (such as Heidegger) and sociologists, like C. Wright Mills and Melvin Seeman, while the main branch of the analysis will come from thinkers from the field of reformist criticism of Marxism, such as György Lukács, Adorno, K. Axelos and the psychologist E. Fromm. Since the 1960s, research has been intensified, preparing the ground for today's analyses of its causes by Jürgen Habermas and Slavoj Zizek.

[xii]Götz Adriani, Winfried Konnertz, Karin Thomas. Joseph Beuys, Leben und Werk, Köln 1986 [1973] (Götz Adriani, Joseph Beuys, Σχέδια, Αντικείμενα και Χαρακτικά. Μετάφραση Αικατερίνη Στεφανάκη, Institut für Aulandsbeziehungen και συγγραφείς, 1989)

[xiii] For more information on this, see Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Translation: E.B. Ashton, Bloomsbury Academic, 1981 (Theodor W. Adorno, Αρνητική διαλεκτική, Μετάφραση, σημειώσεις: Λευτέρης Αναγνώστου, Εκδόσεις Αλεξάνδρεια, Αθήνα, 2006).

[xiv] The word "thrown" here has a clear reference to the wording of existentialist philosophy, according to which man is "thrown" in reality.

[xv] The word "choice" is used in an existentialist sense, in the sense of the concerns with the completion in the finite duration of human existence.

[xvi] See Note 10.

[xvii] According to Foucault, every power is nothing but a power upon the human body.

[xviii] "Beuys believed that, in earlier times and cultures, there was still an equating of the formation of consciousness to the development of plastic artistic ability. His intention remained unchanged, that is, to define concepts such as genesis and process, awareness and education, the formation and development of consciousness, in short, the whole of existence, as a law of Plastics." Götz Adriani, Winfried Konnertz, Karin Thomas. Joseph Beuys, Leben und Werk, Köln 1986 [1973] (Götz Adriani, Joseph Beuys, Σχέδια, Αντικείμενα και Χαρακτικά. Μετάφραση Αικατερίνη Στεφανάκη, Institut für Aulandsbeziehungen και συγγραφείς, 1989)

[xix] For more about this lost core, as the basis of our existence in the world, see Maurice MERLEAU-PONTY, Phénoménologie de la Perception, Paris, Gallimard, 1945. English edition first published in 1962 by Routledge & Kegan Paul, Translation Colin Smith. Information taken from the electronic edition of Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2005

[xx]Götz Adriani, Winfried Konnertz, Karin Thomas. Joseph Beuys, Leben und Werk, Köln 1986 [1973] (Götz Adriani, Joseph Beuys, Σχέδια, Αντικείμενα και Χαρακτικά. Μετάφραση Αικατερίνη Στεφανάκη, Institut für Aulandsbeziehungen και συγγραφείς, 1989)

[xxi] Ibid.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] See above, Note 13.

[xxiv]  For information on this, with regard to Fluxus, see the first (1963) and the second (1971) manifesto of G. Maciunas. More information at George Maciunas Foundation Inc, http://georgemaciunas.com/

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi]Ibid.

[xxvii] On this, we would disagree with Plato's position, which considers the attraction the work of art exerts to be dangerous. The seductiveness of the work is part of its truth if released from the manipulative practice of other purposes tormenting it.

[xxviii]Ibid.

[xxix]Ibid.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Ibid., "We radically reject the conspiracy of politics with the power called ‘Money’". Beuys clearly set out the historic dilemma, i.e. the definition of art, more broadly than modern art defines it, that is, he defined it, so that art in principle refers to human work, that is, to the creativity of man in his work, in everyone's work, according to the view that “Every person is an artist".

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