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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Pierre Restany

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The New Realists
Milan, April 16, 1960 - Avant-Garde/Manifesto

Wise academicians and brave individuals may be alarmed at the rate at which the history of art is progressing and at the extraordinary power of the modern world to wear away at things. But they would try in vain to stop the sun in its tracks or make time stand still by moving counterclockwise.

We are witnessing the draining and ossification of all established vocabularies, languages, and styles. Individual endeavors, still scattered over Europe and America, have responded to this exhaustion of traditional means. These projects, regardless of their range, all tend to define the normative bases for a new expressivity. It is not a question of a new formula for another oil or enamel-based medium. Easel painting, like any other classic means of painting or sculpture, has served its term. Still sublime at times, it is approaching the end of a long monopoly.

What is being proposed? The exciting adventure of the real seen for what it is and not through the prism of conceptual or imaginative transmission. What is the determining feature of this new perception? The introduction of sociological reinforcement at the critical stage of communication. Sociology comes to the aid of consciousness and hazard, whether it is in the posting or the tearing down of a sign, the physical appearance of an object, the rubbish from a house or livingroom, the unleashing of mechanical affectivity, or the expanding of sensitivity beyond the limits of its perception.

Sociological reality in its entirety, the work of individuals for the common good, the grand republic of our social exchanges, of our social commerce--this is what is being called on. Its artistic mission would not be doubted were it not for so many individuals who still believe in the eternal validity of certain genres held to be noble, such as painting . . .

At this stage where the creator steps outside of himself and attains full expression, and through the baroque appearance of certain experiences, we are making progress toward a New Realism of pure sensitivity. This is at least one of the roads of the future. With Yves Klein and Tinguely, Hains and Arman, Dufréne and Villeglé, a variety of projects have been started in Paris. The work will be fruitful, its full consequences are still unpredictable, and, because of the existence of icons and the foolishness of their adorers, it will definitely be iconoclastic.

We find ourselves immersed up to our necks in direct expressivity at forty degrees below Dadaist zero, without any aggressivity complex, without any particular controversial desire, looking to nothing but to our realism for justification. And that produces positive results. People, if they succeed in reintegrating themselves with what is real, will identify it with their own transcendence, which is emotion, feeling, and, ultimately, poetry.

[An Exerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 569]




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