" I am convinced that formal structure of art works  is of such an essential importance for art work to be elected as art work that a true aesthetic emotion could only be the fruit of harmonious  spatial relations of plastic volumes and tonal arrangement., no matter how ugly the subject  may be.."      

                                                                                                                                    Li chevalier



 “The starting –point of all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The objects that provoke this emotion we call works of art.”


By this aesthetic hypothesis, the English art critic Clive Bell seems to have established a strict correlation between works of art and the aesthetic emotion, make this last point a constitutive elements of work of art.


Going one step further, the American Philosopher Monroe Beardsley defined   work of art as “an arrangement of conditions intended to be capable of affording an experience with marked aesthetic character.  In another word, the aesthetic experience should “result in a product which constitutes an adequate record of that experience.”  And this “product” possess what Clive bell called the “significant form”, that is a combination of colors or line and relations of forms capable to stir our aesthetic emotions.


However,   by making  the” significant form capable of provoke aesthetic emotion” a essential quality of work of art,   we  have  to face  the problem of dealing with works that are  explicitly created  in defiance of  aesthetic experience  either from formal view point or from emotional view point.


 To be upgraded as a contemporary “artist” in the west today, one has to flee the suspicion of the mawkishness and vapidity of the genres “lovely prince and princess under the moonlight” as plaque.  I am kindly advised    to reactive my memory, to search into every corner of my brain for the darkest experience of my past life so that it could become the  spiritual nourishment of  a  powerful art.  And I was advised so many times to abandon the formative beauty in order to create powerful art. 


The suspicion toward   beauty   arises  no doubt from the its epistemology failure to possess a universal criteria for its application,  but few  would contest the quasi  “universal”  utility of the  negative emotion and formal ugliness   as an efficient tool  for creating visual impact  .


Am I going too far by saying  that the great ‘social visionary’ of Saint Simon has successfully installed a brand new culture, the culture of the cult of ugliness?   


Needless to say that no matter how powerful  the emotion results from the  ugliness and disgusting may be, it has little to do with   the Schopenhauer state of rapture, the  state of aesthetic exaltation when one loses oneself in that infinitely sublime state of mind,  a state of complete joy, of perfect peace.


Is aesthetic emotion necessarily related   with some positive values worshiped by old fashioned  moralist? To avoid this accusation,   Lets put aside   immediately the necessary equation of Goodness and Beauty by Plato, the  distinction of the beautiful and the sublime by Kant. Some could laugh   in front of the tomb of  Tolstoy  buried  together today with his claim that “art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen. Let’s tell Sillier and Beardsley’s follower   that  yes, art works  may contains the virtue of tension relief and inner harmony and brotherhood promotion but not only that. Art is a discourse, an opinion , therefore,  it must has multiple functions and in art works, we may encounter both positive or negative emotions as we encounter both in  human life.


 However, I am convinced that formal structure of work of art is of such an essential importance for art work to be elected as art work that a true aesthetic emotion could only be the fruit of harmonious  spatial relations of plastic volumes and tonal arrangement. No matter what kind of discourse the art works may express,  it has to possesses some basic formative quality  without which it should be disqualified as art work.


 It would be of great interest to figure out  if the contemporary predilection for  the negative  emotions   and formal ugliness  will be  considered through time as  permanent quality of powerful art  or it is no more than  just a fashion as bird, forest, lovely ladies was in the past.


We are living through a era of cult for both formal  and emotional ugliness.  An era when one eventually could content oneself to care about strong emotions without it being aesthetically valuable and to invent new forms without it being “significant”.


But how long this will last?

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