I’ve been pretty ill and was taken to hospital so I’ve missed a lot including our initial meetings with people who we were grouped with. Upon return, I met up with the group around the second week of November to discuss texts and where we’d go with developing ideas for this presentation. In my group are: Ari, Eunsel, Hannah, Katrine, Justyna, Sarah, Vicky and myself. The topic given was internal processes, I’ve always been interested in this due to being so keen on psychology and psychoanalytical theory, but I’m also fairly spiritual. So I thought this would be a topic I’d gain a lot from.
We discussed a text called ‘Mystery and Creation’ by Giorgio de Chirico, who was associated with Surrealist and Metaphysical Art, this text also appears in Surrealism and Painting by Andre Breton. ‘To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dream.
Profound statements must be drawn by the artist from the most secret recesses of his being; there no murmuring torrent, no birdsong, no rustle of leaves can distract him.
What I hear is valueless; only what I see is living, and when I close my eyes my vision is even more powerful.
It is most important that we should rid art of all that it has contained of recognisable material to date, all familiar subject matter, all traditional ideas, all popular symbols must be banished forthwith.
More important still, we must hold enormous faith in ourselves: it is essential that the revelation we receive, the conception of an image which embraces a certain thing which has no sense in itself, which has no subject, which means absolutely nothing from a logical point of view, I repeat, it is essential that such a revelation or conception should speak so strongly in us, evoke such agony or joy, that we feel compelled to paint, compelled by an impulse even more urgent than the hungry desperation which drives a man to tearing at a piece of bread like a savage beast.’ We liked this text because it refers to art as being something natural and driven by impulses, a hunger that the artist cannot explain. It also explains art as being something beyond this world, beyond our existence. Although it may not make sense to us, it seems it is something that can only be felt. We did read over ‘Surrealism and Painting’ but it was heavy reading, I’m pretty good with understand abstract or philosophical concepts but this was not easy to read at all. So we uses ‘Mystery and Creation’ as a starting point of discussion which lead onto me suggesting a few areas we could start researching. At first I could only think of Freudian theories but I picked up on de Chirico’s point about ‘… childhood vision and dream.’ and thought of how art could perhaps be a release of the inner child, driven by instinct and exploration children have to learn and how this becomes something quite playful. This lead me to suggesting texts by Melanie Klein and D.W. Winnicott, psychoanalytical theorists who offered explanations regarding the relationship between childhood, play and creativity. I also made some further suggestions on looking at primitive art because I know from previous reading that it one of the earliest activities humans engaged in were acts of creativity, which walls of caves were found to have paintings on them. I suggested this because of how the text talks of art as something primal and childlike but we didn’t pursue this.
Katrine also suggested reading ‘Primitive Painting’ by Clement Greenberg and sent on the essays to all of us which, I’m not sure if I found it particularly helpful as I’m not a painter so I didn’t have much to say about the essay.
In terms of the group, they not a very vocal bunch, there’s 3 or 4 of us who are really working hard to suggest things but the rest are pretty quiet so I’m hoping this won’t be the case with the next meeting.