Abstract art is a pure form of Violence. Imagine an implementation of violence, to the execution of your art. In any medium. It is destruction in a most victorious way. Perfectly imperfect. Although this is not an attempt to inspect aestheticization of violence in art. Rather an implementation of the force. Exercising the power. Much as the deviation to fury. Express or explode. And effects of it on the outcome.
Although there are many masters whom I admire who depicted Violence. For instance Goya in his late works. Although masterpieces by some of these masters handled violent subjects. Speaking on them from the aesthetical point of view would be rather speaking on a conceptual aspect of the story within the paintings or artworks. Offcourse and it’s presentation. More like an Art Appreciation.
Having said that. Now we know what this article is not about depiction. This post would include the emphasis on “the act of Violence” while producing artwork. Implementation. Widely but not only applicable to Abstract art. Behaviour involving physical and mental force intended to destruct, rearrange or reconstruct.
Before Understanding its allegory :
Violence has a negative persona. Mostly in the west. But in the east, it has its own value. Ruthlessness is important for destruction. Destruction of old gives space for the creation of new. Maybe if you want to transform your habits. Or take your artwork and style of working to a new direction. Add intensity. It has to do with everything that needs to be changed.
Hence “Shiva”, the god is destruction hold the important place in Indian philosophy. An end is always the beginning of something new. Like our thoughts. One ends and other begins. Hence even having thoughts can be regarded as violence. So violence itself cannot be ignored, or repressed in dark corner of our minds.
It is essential to speak about it. Therefore you need to understand the allegory of Violence. We will systematically shred the conception of what it is not. To really understand what it is. You will understand as you read it. How it adds value to the Abstract art.
Non Violence is Sarcastic Violence.
Before we see Abstract art in context to the subject, it is essential to understand the paradigm of Violence.
Many new religions and lifestyles and pseudo-religions are based on nonviolence in modern ear. But its time to recheck the facts. It cannot be denied, that nonviolence has a shadow of violence to it.
Not eating flesh is okay. But eating plants and leaves cannot be considered as nonviolence either. It is killing a life at end of the day. It has been proven that plants are sensitive to light, music, and atmosphere. So by killing it, you are killing a thing more sensitive than livestock. It is more brutal. And if we conclude that killing a plant is less violent than killing let’s say chicken. Then we lose on our bet that industrialisation is hazardous to the environment. As it primarily affects forests.
An example :
It is well-conceived thought that Non-violence is the very basis of Indian independence. That it was an essential factor to achieve independence. But Gandhian Non Violence is the most brutal form of violence. It is repressed anger. It is an emotion used to evoke more intensity. To the resist, the power applied to you. Instrumentation used to increase the conflict.
Imagine British soldier charging Lathi against you, and you stand still. Repressing the very immediate form of expression expected at the moment. Which are urge and experience of cruelty! An equal and opposite reaction to the action, to the force. It is the purest form of inner Brutality. Hence saying that “Indian independence was a counterpart of inner violence” would be more appropriate. Paradox.
Violence can be good and evil.
Now that we can conceive a perspective. That superficially non-violence is just another form of violence. Like non-believers are also believing in their non-belief. They are two sides of the same coins. It strikes to mind, is there any good form of violence? Or can we see some good in the act? As any other emotions and expressions. It just is. But the nature of it being good or bad (if you want to differentiate), depends on where you apply it. And certainly for what reason.
Anger, expressed by so-called fundamentalist to vandalise public property is mere stupidity. But when a mother to teach her child something? It holds it’s own beauty. Telling a child dangers of the world can be violent thought provoking. But it holds a beauty in it. In fact, the very conflict of brutality with beauty brings it more close to being beautiful. Because it is used to transform ugly into good. The weakness, to the Strenght. Brutality to kindness. That too, only by comparing them in child’s mind. Without actually exercising it.
From the higher perspective, it shapes the very collective consciousness of our society. It helps the Child in every walk of life. To make decisions, to realise and so on. The very intention of that violence is okay.
But on the other hand domestic violence is cruel. No one can deny it. It is very dictatorial and against nature. It is not used for freedom, but otherwise. On the hand, the very basis of Abstract art is exercising freedom.
In action :
If you really want to explore violence. You should probably check works of Vijay Tendulkar. May it be communal, mental, domestic, Physical or any other kind of violence. No one in the world has explored violence better than him. (As said by Satyadev Dubey). You may start with this documentary on the writer’s work.
But this is an observation of an artist on violence. Like his mirror of the society. What this kind of intensity does to art? To the very existence of it? Violence in art leads to abstraction. This beginning of end leads to Abstract art.
Birth of Abstract Art as an effect.
It is important to see art beyond parameters of good and bad. Because there is no such thing as good art and bad art. It is personal to everyone and not necessarily shares similar values and meaning as the artist himself. Hence I strongly believe that exams and contest for artists is mere stupidity. How can a bunch of people decide which art or artist is a winner? It might be for them, according to there conception. Announcing their conception to the public as the winner can be considered dictatorial. In a sense that one or two people deciding for others.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists”. – Bela Bartok
But intimidation does affect art too. It leads to an abstraction. Only if an artist has a soft or no ego. An artist not flexible, not willing to unlearn might consider it too bad violence. Because it takes a lot of resistance fearlessness to place a different perspective while executing an art that is deviated from what artist has been “trained” or conditioned to do. Look at this piece of art by Mutt. It is a daring thought. Or how Picasso took a journey backwards to forget his conditioning, alteration of adult mind and his father’s training to be a realistic painter. He strived to paint as innocently as a child. It is the difficult journey. We are the outcome of our experiences. Experiences cannot be inexperienced, undone.
And doing so needs a spiritual aspect to it. You have to detach from your precious possession of knowledge. Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Rothko and Pollock exercised good violence to its peak extent.
I have seen the artist who never changes there style, or even try to experiment. Although they slightly deviate with there proportions, as it is a natural human tendency. But I consider such people drafters. They do have skills no doubt. But they lack the soul, which adds emotion to the Artwork. No matter how hard they try, they never get off the frames of self-illusive image and profit loss measurements of a project.
It has to be deliberate destruction. Consequently “Shiva” and its philosophical aspect would not have been to so triumphed. Shiva is vital because violence is important. It is important because it gives scope to something new. It takes place for new thoughts and idea. The end is the beginning of something new.
Artists exercising it :
Without Violence, Prabhakar Kolte would have never painted a thought, Dali a dream. Neither would have two perspectives of same thought or image or personality would have collided in a Picasso. It leads the French wave in filmmaking. A daring act of breaking rules. Without worrying about circumstance, and not giving a second thought on how pointless the act could be. Rearranging and assembling forms in a painting is the result of absolute destruction.
I would especially like to mention Francis Bacon. His implementation of violence to the art is extreme. As a result, even the Love as the theme of painting would depict violence. This is not decorated depiction of brutality. But intensity has been seen in the depiction. As the execution of the technique (if you like) is powerful. He had a fascination towards Violence. He was in love with it. The documentary film made on the art by BBC has shown the paintings that he tore apart and disposed of too. Hence this would be extremity on the subject we are discussing to the point no one has taken to.
Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence (2017)
Closing thoughts on Abstract art in effect of Violence.
- Non Violence is another form of Violence.
- They are two sides of the same coin, Good and Bad.
- In art, it leads to abstraction. Abstract art.
But on a higher scale, it decides the way we are progressing as human. How our collective consciousness is developing. It is because of violence we chose revolution. Choosing evolution would have been a slower but different and exciting story for humankind.
My further efforts are to investigate and write about Abstract art and trasses of Abstraction in a religion. If you want to get updates on my additional writings, consider joining my new letter.