“The Great Expectation” in fragments
by Ho Leng
These fragments argue that in an age of knowing capitalism, the European art world has not adequately thought about the challenges heralded by the emancipation marked by globalization, access mobility and dynamic of human relations, where “social,” “historical” and “demographical” embedded processes intersect and hybridize profusely overtime...
After reading about the history of the Iron Curtain, a division line that was drawn during the Cold War, this boundary led to two schools of thought in the contemporary arts scene in Europe: the anglophile west and the quixotic east. The praxis of Fine Art painting in the diffracted socio-political East, still postulate of avant-garde, post-Imperialism, Communism, Marxism, and other “ism” art movements; the ventriloquist west in capitalistic trends. Even though there is a unification peculiarity in European contemporary arts that portrays as opinionated as often it wants to be open, it is confronted with constraints bound by skeptical art trends and movements. In this way, the impending economic crisis saw a cut back in cultural funds, local governmental support and collaborative artistic efforts.
The aforementioned Eastern European art or Balkan art allures many post-neoliberal artists who are putting their idiosyncratic stamps on the genre of nostalgia as a resurfacing theme in their paintings, art performance, etc, proliferating the past suffering of feudalistic society into art. Or perhaps, to uplift the stifling continuity of political issues which still linger in the remorse of the people. Has a collective memory deducted the value of art as part of a failed utopia? What will remain for Balkan art in the future?
“A democratic society is one in which relations in conflict must be sustained and not erased. Without antagonism there is only the imposed consensus of authoritarian order.”
—Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe
There is an invisible plurality of the new left radical ideas, which fostered a propensity towards today’s contemporary arts. Asunder as it seemed egalitarian: fine arts in Western Europe is considered to be high commodity - a collectable prestige amongst people who have reached an esteemed status within their social circles, and the display of power - compromises such emancipation of many youths (Generations X & Y) wanting to be artists. “Emerging young artists” as we know. The Art industry is polarized around debates such as high profile artists vs emerging young artists because there are huge amounts of money at stake. What is the real agenda? Why does one become an artist? Are works of an artist acting on the behalf of “the will of the people,” hence giving back to the society in a way? Or has the art industry corrupted the pluralistic honesty and creativity of the artist’s working habits? Or is it an easy way out for the “Peter Pan generation” by not finding a real job? Of course, who gets to determine what is overt, excessive, or stereotypical of being an artist
/. Creative people are not idiots
One cannot make generalizations about artists, and artists whom I have met work tediously non-stop, whose plethoric ideas are constantly evolving and border on obsession. Nevertheless, the semantic valence of artists changes all the time, and the term of “being an artist” is very likely to arouse the suspicion of prejudice within a small circle where everyone knows everyone. […] Likewise as a curator and a foreign talent, one has to be both maliciously critical and analytical about the maturity of works, the coherent direction of text, and the intrinsic meaning behind the art. The relational intersection is thus manifested in which could cause the slightest train of thought to its audience, inasmuch as leaving a multiplicative inverse effect. The most common vernacular derogatory of concept has to be dissipated by the opposing ideas that encounter the norms of praxis, which translates good ideas into remarkable works of art.
Q&A session with Zenita:
Why does one become an artist?
I think it is a given innate state. I believe it’s impossible to construct a talent. It somehow happens to you – “the artist“ is a status of a very big ego. If the artist is able to rise above the status, and creates works that brings joy to the people it can be something really amazing. If the artist thinks that he is doing art for his own benefits, the true essence will be lost. Art works have to come from a higher source to serve humanity. In order to do so, one has to become a pipeline. In my opinion, people who are able to rise above themselves, who are willing to invest everything they have for the benefit of others, are the real artists of the future.
Are your works acting on the behalf of “the will of the people,” hence giving back to the society in a way?
The thought of creation looms through the art piece. It is the interdependency between inspiration and representation that becomes visible in a strong work of art. The art should propagate means to connect desires, and in the best case creating an environment to scrutinize “the will of the people” in order to find solutions through a guided process.
Has the art industry corrupted the pluralistic honesty and creativity of the artist’s working habits?
I think the art industry is like a microcosmic image of all the flaws in the society. Corruption is of course an omnipresent situation. We have to always empty our glass and start from scratch, to open a new chapter seems to be difficult but it is not impossible. Otherwise art is not art anymore. It is time to create something new. This means that we have to exit our comfort zones, and adapt to the paradigm of change and be willing to give up what is not necessary. This also applies to all areas of life: economy, finance, family, culture, science, etc. We have to change our attitude to all these topics and concentrate on the relations between people. The new art will be totally different. The mentality of a lone “genius” artist is totally out of fashion, it’d be passé as if living in the age of renaissance. The tendency of this new morphology will be to collaborate in a mutual way, and understanding the wisdom of the many. A single person has limited empowerment. We have to understand that the “ME" LTD is over. We have to go for the “WE" LTD. The art industry will have to re-adjust to this process and this takes on a purification ideology.
// Opinions are free, opinionated point of view is how it’s being perceived. Her work exudes a mix of warmth and cantankerousness, an idealism about humanity’s potential and a weariness with the modern world – at least outside the eminently sensible oracle in which Zenita’s universe lives. Her illustrations / paintings might be seen as occupying the apex of life’s expectancies.
/. Mirror side
“What we usually appreciate are things that we do not see in the mirror.
It also applies on how we appreciate creative works and our own culture.”
—Mideo M.Cruz, “Terra Incognita”, 2003
/. In the Middle
It is inevitable to still find differences or deliberate over the final iteration of methodologies and appearances in the middle ground. Phylum. Insofar, artistic societies like Vienna and Budapest, in which suspicions of animus often present just below the surface of seemingly innocuous discussions, where institutionalized and governmentally obligated ethnicity bias does exist, why use bigotry terms that will likely add fuel to the fire of a dysfunctional society? All people of good should foster trust, friendship and quality, so as to create better futures apart from the autocracy that now exists, hitherto look towards better societies that respect the rights of all. Art is a freedom of speech; a common language and art should be free for all.
“Art allows us to see the invisible, to call forth light in a world shrouded in darkness. It speaks to that most real part of ourselves we’ve forgotten. It transcends circumstance and gives perspective. (We need art, 2013)
We cannot face great art and not be changed.”