Rationalized art (mainly the experience of conceptualism) has supplied an essential element of metalinquistic reflection necessary for grasping the problems and meaning of the sing. The reflective character of “visual” experiences regarded as “imaginable” resulted in art becoming in fact crammed with more or less complex models-notations. These models were either an order (verbal postulate) or, basing on the mechanic character of notation, “vestiges” of a mental process. An ambitious slogan, postulates of “video reality”, “work-shop film” or “conceptual photography” were more or less attractive fantasies which only hampered the will and imagination of the artist. For they brought down to the ground floor level the value of meaning, they were in fact nothing more than wiping one’s glasses, polishing the camera lens or examining the camera mechanism. This technicalism has become such a wearisome mannerism (1), that it must be countered as energetically as possible. »
I made such an attempt in 1975 when l realized the visual — mental matrix “Categorical Statements from the Sphere of Post-Consumer Art”. It was a rationalized attempt at building a visual structure each element of which was assigned a definite content and, conversely, each grammatically meaningful sentence — structure was assigned a visual equivalent. In Statements I managed to prove rather convincingly that the visual state is untranslatable and belongs to another sphere of consciousness.
My next experience was “artificial photography” which was an appeal against the commonsense conception of art, against regarding the visual process as the “tail-ends” of secondary thoughts, scraps left behind by the mental process. In “artificial photography” l try to prove that the creative and intuitive possibilities of every visualization process surpass the potential of imagination. This is also confirmed by science inasmuch as it rejects the positivistic model of perception psychology and maintains that the perception process produces no lasting pattern of visual Information in the optic apparatus (2).
The superiority of the mental process to the visual perception process is a fiction which must be — in art — resolutely opposed. The apparatus of visual perception (the eye and brain) is an inseparable entity, for we cannot perceive with a vacant mind. The process of perception is comprehensive, and as such subject to holistic interpretation (3).
On the strength of the above assumption l am prompted to say that at present, art needs an imaginative, intuitive correction since the canonized metalinguistic process is not able to comprehend reality in all its complexity and variety. Conceptualism has wiped the glasses clean, let us wear them now so that we might see the world through them. Thus, I postulate an art which will be realized through objectified means for they are better suited to our sensory system, but these means will be strictly controlled by artistic intuition. Intellectual cognition is characteristic of science each element of which is created on the basis of the precedent element that has been carefully verified and defined.
Art is a structure which allows paralogical operations, for it has this extraordinary quality that it develops on the basis of intuitive cognition. Consequently, intuitive photography, some examples of which appear alongside, is an objectified notation of intuition, an insight into the irrational world odd art’s consciousness of the self. Intuitiveness seems to be the basic characteristic of art, differentiating it from other forms of human activity. If we want to prove that art has not succumbed to the general trend of dehumanization, we must raise it to a higher level of conscious intuition which will precede all the grammatical and canonized analyses. The innate limitations of art do not mean that cognition through art is less valuable than cognition through science. Art, being more closely related to the whole psychological, system of man, is so to say, intrinsically inconsistent, just as man is inconsistent. These. inconsistencies, however, bear witness to his complexity which is the motive power of his evolution and development.
Intuitive photography also shows intrinsic discrepancy between science and art which each have entirely different theological objectives. Art is an image and expression of human consciousness (4).
4 March, 1978
(1) This was best illustrated by Documenta 6, in which the authors – and critics – once again fall into trap of “democratic” art.
(2) W.D. Zinczenko, N.J. Wergiles: Formirowanije zritlelnogo obraza, Moscow 1969.
(3) Holism – a trend in the theory of cognition which assumes that the whole phenomenin cannot be understood by summing up its Individual elements.
(4) Natalia LL: the first sentence from Categorical Statements from the Sphere of Post-Consumer Art, 1975.
Translated by Henryk Holzhausen