Friday, December 25, 2015

The Aesthetics of Resistance

We have started our long-awaited reading group in late October. Struggling though the first chapter, reading one by one aloud about violence failure animality and art. I enjoy going though pages that become a scene of a dialogue about the history of the left and our art practices and art world be inhabit here in London. Our voice, our generation of political prisoners and policing, violence imposed on the people in the countries we experienced life in, resistance in those countries. Despite the text being heavy and dense, language being all too often unfamiliar even to a native speaker it contains rewarding beauty. One encounters a mass of liberating thoughts thrown at us in the kitchen arguments, in young men's reactions and coping mechanisms, in that Weiss gives us freedom to travel or rather co-inhabit antique world and the world of 1930s.

I dearly enjoyed most recent reading of critiques and thoughts about the works of Repin, Yaroshenko, Savitsky, Courbet, Millet, Meunier,  and looking at artworks they produced depicting world of work in 19th century.

"Very seldom in this century, when the worker became a foreground figure in art, were they shown with gesture of resistance, attack. Still, their emergence as a new class, their lifelike appearance in front of the flabbergasted spectator, those were artistic feats enough. Behind them lay a string of revolts and revolutions, and although driven back each time, and perhaps they would be better  equipped for the next charge. By approaching them, by seeking motifs from the workaday world, the painters showed that art too was freeing itself from old obligation, that energy coming from the populace was forcing itself on art, energy that had to be articulated at first by those capable of speech, of expression that mediated." p53

"Just as thought of revolution was not yet the revolution but only demanded its deeds, so too the pictorial idea called for its implementation in form." p55

"Art has always convinced us only by filling the painted frame or the written pages with a life of it's own. Whenever precautions are taken to steer art, they merely confirm that it has a mind of its own. The more tightly art is bound the more people fear the danger of its explosive energy." p58.

Here is a glitched-up comment on 1978 painting by Nikolai Yaroshenko called Prisoner. With solidarity to imprisoned mates Alexei Gaskarov and Ildar Dadin and all those prosecuted by Russian state for their tireless resistance.