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Because of the Chaos: A Devolution of Artmaking

Yana Nungesser

 

The Creative Act the term “the creative act”, the creative process, theactof artmaking is one that is felt, not seen.Rather than being a simplistic explanation of creation, those lucky enough to have felt it knowthat it describesthefervourand thejoyous energythat makes the creation of the work possible, if notinevitable.For everyone, there was a first time they picked up their artistic weapon of choice.Not manycan remember the reason why.Can you remember?For some, there was a second time(for thisthere is another reason more deeply profound andconsequential than the first).There is an intersectional plane that welosefindour way into,where thought and rationale reside as blurry, diaphanous forms which carryas muchhistory,meaningand consciousnessas you or me.If you are lucky enough to catch wind of thisdimension the firstfew times you dabble in whatever form of artistic expression calls you,ifthose forms and ideas whisper to you,orperhaps give you a side long glance, itsdestined to stickwith you for many years to come.This is the magic of the creative act.Thisjoy and catharsisserveas the foundation for why wedo what we do.This could be equallytheact of making ourselvesorconnectingwith the work ofanotherperson.The way in which the physical representation of an idea born from a stranger canmake itself a home in the cavity of your chest is proof of thenecessityforartisticexpression.There is anability we possessto affect and be affected by thoughts, materialisedby dreams,embodiedby experience, represented.“To all appearances, the artistacts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.”(Marcel Duchamp, in his short and sweetlecture at the American Federation of the Arts in 1957, just eight minutes long, synopsizes this phenomenon.)

 

Ethical MagicIt is this magnetism of making and of viewing art that drives us.It is whatdrew us towards thecreative sector in the very beginning; being beckoned by wisps of that inexplicable magic.But tobe a creative working today can feel like trying to clutch at fading, insubstantialvapours of thismagic, or to be turning your face from it entirely. When considering making work incontemporary times itfeelsinevitable to find yourself buried under an ever-shifting mountain ofsocietal upheaval anddevastation. The trial of continuing with yourcreativepracticeamongstglobal destruction can feel like an inherently futile act.Notonly this but the doubts that followcan lead you to believe that focusing your energy on art atthis time is selfish and unimportant inthe grand scheme of the issues plaguing our times.3.Forgetting Meanwhile the institution of art itself has become complicit with the sameideologies thatcontribute to these crippling global issues. We operate in an industry that is so amalgamated withpolitics and social structure, it seems unavoidable for capitalism to damage the framework of theart world. But it’s a poisonouscycle, it leaves us in a stagnant place.If everything becomessystemised in the same way, we begin to look at our own creative processina similar lightis itmarketable? Is it digestible?This systemisation is to take yourself out of the creative zoneentirely.With the extent of the external forces affecting us, it’scompletelyforgivable to call intoquestion the value of art in our times. The disenchantment caused bybeing anartistbeing alivein current times has caused ahollownessbetween us and our inner, primal, sensitive selves.Itwrenchesthe question from us, unwittingly, and with great resistance:“why am I doing this?”4.Remembering because you have to!”To deny the call to create feels almost like a violation of nature. This spans across all borders ofartistry, as producer Rick Rubin puts it:“In the moment when we feel a work is taking shape, there’s a dynamic surge,followed by an urge to share,in the hopes of replicating that mysterious emotionalcharge in others...Through this we get to face our inner world outward, remove the boundaries ofseparation, and participate in the great remembering of what we came into this lifeknowing: There is noseparation. We are one.”5.DevolutionThe desire to create is a fundamental human urge. We find ourselves becoming detached ordisillusioned from our genuine creative selves through thechaotic trainwreck that is modern daysociety and the severity of thecontemporary art world.However,we must remind ourselves ofthegenuine authentic joy incited by simply making, with no intent or agenda. To scribble like achildcan sometimes feel more authentic than executing something with a vision in mind.Createwithout borders of marketability,purely because youwantto will this thing into existence.In areview of Duchamp’s previously mentioned lecture, Rebecca Bates of theParis Reviewquotesthe famous artist: “the artist has produced nothing unless the onlooker has said ‘you haveproduced something marvellous’”.Duchamp champions the experience of sharing artandreiterates the importance and reliance on art for the benefit of all. However, this stance alsoadvocates the making of art for the validation of others rather than for the unique and specialprocess of making. Making work for the sole purpose of others toconsume feeds thearrangement of a consumerist art world and eats your passion,greedily,from your outstretchedhands. There is no more valid quantification of “value” than your own contentment with yourwork.There is no more valid quantification of value than your own contentment withyour work!6.Art PersistsThis issimplya shallow skimming of alarge and importantgroup of issues. The point of thisessay isto promote the creation of art and to appeal to anyreaders who may feel the hopelessness that I myself have felt pervade my practice.Assurance that you are not alonein thisfeeling and thatwhat you do is not pointless. This by no meanssuggests we should “rise above”the conflict or promotes any attempt to ignore what is happening intheworld, infact theopposite. Art must exist not “despite” but “because” of the chaos.There needs to be a “devolution” of the way in which we make art, a return to the dreamlikeroots of creative joy. In this way, the importance of what we do remains. Throughout it all, artpersists.

 

 

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