Year of the Rabbit
Part 2 | The Twilight Zone
Welcome to The Twilight Zone. An uncontrollable and unavoidable transitional space between art shaped by history and art shaping the future.
Every once in a while, a movement comes along that completely throws us off and reminds us how visceral art is.
How can you see the future with tears in your eyes?
The collective trauma we've experienced - and are experiencing - alludes to the likely trend to evolve. Figuration is the popular kid at the School of Contemporary Art for Art Addicts - bodies are everywhere. Identity politics underpins this. It's readdressing imbalances and reflecting displacement. Artists communicate identity experiences by interrogating social perceptions and critiquing systemic issues that marginalise people in society. Women, people with disabilities, refugees, and people of color have been at the forefront of curatorial practices, profoundly contributing to minority groups. Given the recent events, figuration has had its moment.
The Twilight Zone.
Mimesis is the imaginative interpretation and representation of the real world - exactly what we've seen with this abundance of figurative art. What negates the mimesis of figurative art? Abstraction. If you look at art history and go back to periods when art has been prominent, art that follows is the opposite response to its motive. So, the contrary movement to figurative art is abstract art. Edging into a new era, we will see a birth of a movement that takes psychology to new heights, depicting love, poverty, war, hatred, injustice, and sickness. However, we're in a space between both dimensions of these movements - the twilight zone - where the boundaries are in artists' imaginations.
Abstraction is antithetical to figuration.
Contemporary abstract artists will begin to counter figurative painters. Art history tells us that movements that follow one another are often opposite in message and aesthetic. The theatrics of Baroque art led to the light-heartedness of the Roccoco movement. Modern art's conciseness was followed by postmodernism's hyperreality, completely disrupting its trajectory. Post-modern art was multifaceted and focused on the distinction between high and low art; hence, pop art was born to highlight these contrasts. Pop art was a first-time discovery. It fundamentally changed the definition and meaning of art. It commented on everything that had come before it. In line with being part of a postmodernist movement, it ultimately rejected and undermined the modernist movement and made art accessible to the masses. It was an antithesis in art commenting on life during those times —a formal, stylistic, and aesthetically driven practice followed by a provocative, Avant-garde, and revolutionary movement.
Abstraction reflects experience.
No one knows what they're doing until they're doing it. Abstract art is about removing yourself and creating something non-objective and expressive. The composition comes out of you when you are making it. It's spontaneous and intuitive. You don't need to approach this with a purpose, an image, or something in mind. You find it in the process. It's stationary and immobile, yet it changes for you every time you see it. You don't need a theory to appreciate it.
Dadaism was born amid the first world war to highlight the accurate perceptions of war - violence, brutality, and the loss of human life. Though not a visually abstract outcome, it allowed for freedom of thought under abstract principles. Abstract expressionism emerged after the second world war. During this time, expressionism was the only freedom that enabled artists to be expressive. They could liberate themselves from the need for an object or particular outcome.
Now that we're in the twilight zone, we can anticipate seeing art that will stun the world and disrupt art history. Visionaries will make themselves seen in more radical ways than ever.
Art is visceral.
Every once in a while, a movement comes along that completely throws us off and reminds us how visceral art is. Along will come a work of art that changes what art is. Art history has evolved to help us understand life. Every artistic practice reflects cultural, political, and social contexts, especially when considered with other art. The power of art is its ability to change things incrementally and monumentally. We can anticipate seeing abstract art through a compassionate lens. We'll see artists take what's inside and put it on the outside without changing what the inside looks like. What you see on the surface is what you are.
I pray to the rabbits guiding us this year that on the other side of the twilight zone is a movement that takes us to the wildest place we're yet to know - wonderland. Or, as Alice would say after her stint down the rabbit hole, a place of wonder, mystery, and danger like no place on earth.
If you've read this far, you've been automatically enrolled in the School of Contemporary Art for Art Addicts, with the option to RSVP for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with me.
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By Amalia Mitsopoulos