Articles
Annotation to personal
exposition of 1981
Of Completion and
Incompleteness
Short annotation to personal
exposition of 1992
Two spaces
On sacrifice
Ethics of beautiful
Contest design for Rekolle
International Workshop, 2005
  1. Avant-garde today
  2. Humanized space
Ability To Bring Light
Movement of the Diagonal
Artistic Credo
Articles by Other Authors
Fragments of article by O. Kostina
Fragments of article by S. Serova
Commentary to Model Monument to
Russian Philosopher V. S. Solovyov
Fragments of article by V. Perfilyev
Thinking about time. I. Svetlov
Spiritual Anxiety
Mystery of Art. S. Orlov
Master. V. Maloletkov
Academy of Arts Is Presenting
Ksenia Karpova
Mystery of Art. L. Yevdokimova
 
St. John the Baptist. 1977. Bronze, height 78
 
Concert by A. Knyazev. 2004.
Bronze, granite, height 84

Competition Work for Rekolle International Studios, 2005

1. Avant-garde Today

The main trend of the avant-garde art has been merging with life itself in an ever growing degree, the mimesis in it shrinking ever more.

The feeling, the thought and the spirit, which used to be rendered through state, were gradually ceding their places to the feeling and the pondering of the spectator who is invited to take part in the process of joint creation, those feeling and pondering becoming the self-contained essence of the new life of art.

Henceforth, the internal processes of spiritual life have been being stimulated not by depicting their reflections in human appearance, but have been being provoked by the intellectual aspect of the art objects presented, in which aspect the aesthetic component has by now ceased to be the main part.

One of the evolutionary tasks of the avant-garde consists in succeeding to show that the creative process is something into which anyone can engage, thus rendering to the life of the human kind as a whole a more creative character - as the only way of being saved from the globalistic and individual manifestations of the universal evil.

The performance of this mission by the avant-garde implies that schooling, the entire experience accumulated, are not obligatory not only for the amateur, but also for the professional artist as the leader of this process.

The rational researching element of the avant-garde has happened to find itself in paradoxical intertwining with the mass culture which culture stays ignorant about the heuristic character of art.

The rhythmical , vectorial structure has always been used in the composition of the grand style. This level of the hierarchically spatial structure was attained in the arts of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, in the Gothic art, and, particularly so, in the icon and in the fresco of Ancient Rus. The artistic style was acquiring these properties under the influence of the profundity and wholesomeness of the religious perception of the events of the real life in the world. The orientation in life permeated in art.

The gradual secularization of life, the pluralistic character of the values and interests, have altered the concept of the wholesomeness of a piece of art and composition thereof. The interest in depicting the world of objects as revelation has put on equal bases artist's attention towards principal and secondary details of a picture, the European art of the 16th-19th centuries having paid for this with the loss of the hierarchical structure of the composition and its clarity.

The Russian avant-garde of the beginning of the century and the artists of suprematism were among those who felt the need for returning to composition the structure of the hierarchically oriented elements. However, the spirit of the times of the advancing epoch consisted in the loss of the religious reverence was which confronted with the richness and the many manifestations of life and made it possible for the art of these artists to discover for itself only the formal ways of submission in the composition of abstract-geometrical content.

But the very fact of the resurrection of the principles of the composition of the high style turned out to be promising for the modern art as a whole. The language of the geometrical abstractions was quick to have exhausted its emotional resource, while the potential possibilities of the newly discovered understanding of composition came to require new saturation, one that would be taken immediately from life, this time - according to the laws of the traditional fine arts, the representationism.

When an artistic discovery happens, taking part in the process are all the psychical and spiritual powers of the artist, this factor often compensating for the relative objectively restricted character of the discovery, which discovery may just the same to bear upon the individual creative evolution. However, when further use is made of the artistic discovery, lost appears the most valuable component of the artistic revelation - the creative daring, which is achieved at times only as resulting from a long-time process of study and humility. Left staying without alimentation remain the aesthetic premonitions of the spectator, which are the most important ones for art and which are connected precisely with the creative challenging of the artist. The discovery is little by little being turned into an artistic device. But the life of art constantly demands of artist his creative courage, but that has always been dramatic and is but a sacrifice.

It would be interesting to follow the way that is being taken in our times by the avant-garde in order to resolve this problem in its practice. Since the moment of its inception and till this day, the creative nerve of the avant-garde has consisted in the spirit of negation, a beginning that is opposite to the creative veneration of the traditional art. The spirit of negation is particularly characteristic of the extreme methods of the avant-garde, which methods, being used by the artist, make him turn to an ever more opened and non-sublimated form of spectator's unaesthetic experience, that being violence, the instinct of self-preservation, and sex, thus making the artist negate in this way art as such. Another extreme feature of the avant- garde of today - the intellectual complexity of the conceptual art - stays in its considerable part also outside of the framework of aesthetic experience and pre-supposes a relocation of the interest to the field of associations of conscience in a definite context. And finally, the entire arsenal of the avant-garde is concentrated in an action, a direct and plain event of life, which event is invoked to be the symbol of a myth that is undergoing the process of its making.

It is in the action that accomplished is the final reverse evolution of the avant-garde as the branch of the fine arts to its synthetic source - the man as the cosmic and spiritual phenomenon.

The intermediate stages in the development of the avant-garde have taken each one its own niche in the picture of the modern art and they continue to vary the creative methods that were discovered some time in the past. Profanation of the first discoveries that were once made by the avant- garde is posing now as its classical tradition which may satisfy a searching artist at the stage of his schooling only. New generations of artists, having received the instruction of the avant-garde, are imparting to it their own talent and their sincerity, and these phenomena make brighter certain specimens of their creative work. But on the whole, the process of mastering the artistic language of the avant-garde, does not concern the development of the higher spiritual interests of the human personality. These aspects of our ego are developed by the fine arts when there is contact with the psychology of the image, with its brightness and its sacrificial character. The same process takes place with an artist when he works in the effort of rendering those states. The language of the avant-garde (not this language alone, at that) possesses no means of expressing those states through the focus of the spiritual image - the face, the front. On the other hand, an artist who once attained this level, considers it henceforth as the aim of his artistic work. He may use, or he may interpret, certain formal discoveries that have been made by the avant-garde, the positive or the negative sign of those discoveries depending upon the context of the particular work of art. But, taken within the hierarchical range of the work, those discoveries will always have been carrying an auxiliary character, serving merely to expand the sphere of human life and the content of the image.

A true piece of art, just like its foretype the human being, presents a microcosm which has a definite hierarchy of meanings that have been accumulated by the particular culture. In order for the artist to express any of these meanings, the corresponding artistic language is used, the stylistic distinction of which corresponds exactly to the wealth of the culture content, that has been accumulated by the moment at which a piece of art is born. The experience of all the preceding styles is present in a mature work of art just like present in it is the conceptualization of the ideological universum of culture. Elements of the artistic language of the avant-garde can be discovered in every piece of art that has been created after the epoch of the blossoming of that trend and that belongs already to a different time.

The influence of information dooms art to the unity of the artistic process, regardless of the ideological and stylistic self-determinations undertaken by the artist himself.

The avant-garde, while producing forth its influence, is also foredoomed to compare its values against the best achievements of the traditional fine arts, both in the past, and in the present time, from which it has continued to draw its energy of negation. Here the school of avant- garde, which has become so widely spread in the world, comes into an inescapable dialogue with the traditional art - in the soul of the very artist, the wholesome development of whose soul implies meeting spiritual experience at all its levels.

Valery Yevdokimov
Moscow. November - December, 2002