It’s not about art, you know?

Ramona’s art series looks at how modern art influences us, while expresses our deeper questions concerning the new era of paintwork. No it is not only you who does not get it but Ramona is here to explain.

Strolling through a gallery, especially one that exhibits modern art, I find it often a dull and frustrating process.

On my right, the honey pump, on my left, a gilded pissoir. And the unsettling reminiscent of a pope depicted at the very beginning is still haunting me.

Francis Bacon Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X,  Oil on canvas, 153cm x 118cm

I feel empty – except for the question why?

Why does our society exhibit such craziness, not to mention pays millions for it? I don’t even try to understand the deeper meaning behind all of this. It’s just the perfect symbol of the decadency our society is embracing.

So I condemned this process that art has experienced. In my belief, art has become unapproachable for the uneducated in art history due to its accelerated abstraction. What should a layman think about Beuys and Duchamp’s political and socially critical approaches to the mundane objects of everyday life? That a chair or an animal trap is special just because it is exhibited in a museum? Why? “If you don’t have the knowledge, you can’t capture their inconceivable value”, murmur the art business and the teachers of art history lessons. But knowledge and education are the property of the elites of our society. The bottom layer won’t have the financial means to buy personal guide tours and art volumes, let alone make time to browse through them…

I would argue that in the ages of classicism and renaissance, where the depicted objects presented in churches were clearly identifiable as Sweet Baby Jesus in Mother Mary’s lap or blue covered women on a world globe representing Maria Inmaculada, the genius of artists were even approachable by the churchgoing laundresses and shoeshine boys.

Giotto Ognissanti Madonna 325,0 x 204,0 cm Rubens Inmaculada Concepion 198 x 135 

But nowadays we have entered the mystiques of the Why. With the removal of the symbol systems or identifiable imagery, one faces the feeling of stupidity, of ignorance, of not getting it. Why should this piece of indistinguishable pipes be celebrated as a modern masterpiece? 

The longer I pondered on this Why, the louder the defiant voice in me sounded. The root of this Why, of this not understanding and feeling to be not suitable to understand art, it is not because art is going astray in accelerating abstraction, but rather the belief that one has to understand the Idea, the biography, and the concepts behind conceptual art in order to talk, to consider art. Movements in the recent parts understood this; poststructuralism and postmodernism, Rholand Barthes was giving birth to the right of individual interpretation and deconstructed the one correct approach to understand art. It is the reader, the viewer giving meaning to what is in front of him. 

Beuys 700 Eichs, Documenta 8 Kassel, 1982-1987 

Despite these more new, open approaches to interpretation, the Art Industry and many within it our society prefer to ignore this new movement. This system of commercialized art is not very eager to listen to all of our individual tiny deviations in interpretation. Art volumes and their great Fine Art scholars still are very concerned with their one single perspective on how to conceive art. Instead of understanding the observer, understanding me as another creative contributor extending the process of creating art, society turns their face towards the “original” creator. The single one. Commercialization exalted its position, commanding that being an artist means becoming your own brand. To become a public figure, to sell your presence in order to sell your works, to build a myth around you as the creating creature is essential.
The belief that art is knowledge is still perpetuated. The belief is that, to amble in a gallery you have to get the artist’s genius idea behind the work. It’s not enough to just see, but you are forced to solve your inner confusion when seeing. The perpetuative belief is that, to decode the artist’s ideas, knowledge is the key. So, though I still appreciated artists often political intentions behind works which are contributing to the dialogue between art and society, I started to judge the art scene of today’s society as too exclusive and absolute.

by Ramona Schnall




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