In my previous article titled “Artistic Snobbery”, I mentioned the free structure of art. I said that the transition from classic to modern painting is a necessary phase, and I mentioned that one is complementary to the other. The title of this article is a humorous sentence but precisely defining art, and it is given to enable the understanding of artistic freedom. Let me continue by explaining ‘waffle’ first. Waffle means saying empty words; nonsense, unreasonable, inconsistent.
As for art, it is among the interests of the human mind, such as philosophy and science. However, art is very different from the others in practice. This difference is this: as with philosophy and science, there is no obligation to prove or persuade. Especially in modern art, in ideas and works designed and displayed, the artist is free to either explain in detail or not regarding his will. Here, because of this different status of modern art, I said it is also the authority to waffle. In addition, art itself and this free structure arise from an important need of the human mind. Now let me explain why people need art.
Philosophy and science have their boundaries and limitations. So, neither philosophy nor science’s explanations are made in abstract, metaphysical fields such as feelings, metaphysical forces did not satisfy the human mind. Therefore, the aesthetic pursuit he calls art is structured as a much more free field than limited fields such as philosophy and science. Thus, it transformed the things that are abstract, metaphysical and accepted as “existing” like God, soul, and spirit, into symbols by various artistic methods and made them concrete. In other words, briefly he believed that he made the invisible visible. The most important reason that makes art unique and valuable for man is its free structure and psychological satisfaction as a result of what it provides.
Nonsense and meaninglessness in art
Here the question is; is freedom in art unlimited? Or will everything the artist put forward be accepted as art? Of course no. This is also not understood properly by any means. Many artists confused meaninglessness with nonsense for the sake of artistic freedom. This is a big problem. Because nonsense is very different from meaningless and it is necessary to separate. Because nonsense has a meaning, but this meaning is contradictory or false and open to debate. However, what is meaningless is neither right nor wrong. Therefore, it cannot be evaluated.
In this context, freedom in art is a freedom given for the way of choosing a subject, interpreting and applying it. So it is free in the production process. However, when a work is displayed, it has criteria in its category to decide what it is and to evaluate. Or the artist should create a new criterion. Thus, the work is defined and evaluated according to those criteria. In this way, it turns out whether it is art. In other words, the work of art may be a form of nonsense but it cannot be meaningless and without criteria. This is so in art, as in almost anything.
The criteria in art are generally gathered under the name of “form”. Form is very important especially in modern painting and consists of two layers. The first is the outer layer. Elements such as color, line, shape (geometric or different) spread on canvas or on a surface, and the harmony, balance and symmetrical structure between them are the outer layer. There is also an indispensable content called inner layer. Content is the coverage to be described; meaning, and the thought, idea or fiction on which the works on canvas are based. The conformity and integrity between these two layers is sought and expected in the modern painting. In the future, I will try to explain in detail the issue of the form which is extremely important and which is about to disappear today.
Loss of artistic value in art
“Abandoning the content in the picture” and then “freedom in art”, which started sixty years ago in modern art, has turned into a deactivation of the criteria related to its surface, that is the outer layer of the painting. As such, speculation and degeneration gradually dominated the art. In the end, the price of the work surpassed art itself.
Art can not be evaluated by price
Being an artist and pragmatism (utilitarianism) cannot come together as a mentality. Art has a special place for humanity. It is perceived and accepted as a unique occupation. It is already functionally an investment object. For this reason, they put the concept of art behind various activities, and either related or irrelevant productions, because of this structure and universal acceptance of art. The reason for this is to attract interest and increase its value. Unfortunately, there are many talented people in the field of aesthetics who are in this trend. Fame and earnings are at the forefront for these. That is why there is always artificiality and lack of hard labor in their works. Such artists have been cooperating with speculators for a long time and attempted to increase the value of their works through various methods. Most of them try to produce works that are far from their own culture but with global validity, without any concern for originality and art.
Art or price?
As a result, this distorted development inevitably brought modern painting works to the point of evaluation in two categories. The first are paintings with market value, and the second are paintings with artistic value. So how do paintings that do not have artistic value attract attention and are sold for high prices? What convinces the artist, the art lover briefly the art community for this wrong approach? In the next section, I will continue with my article titled The Saints of Modern Art.
(Translated by Semih AYDIN)