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theorizing and talking about art

There is a difference between first order activities  such as painting, playing football or rugby, playing an instrument, composing music, doing philosophy, being a monastic or hermit, etc and  talking about such first order activities. The latter is a second order or meta activity. It is aimed at reflecting on the first order activity. First order and second order activities have different aims and follow different rules. For example, painting and talking about a painting, playing football and talking about playing football have different purposes.
No painting will be created by talking about painting in general or a particular painting. Artists, be it Picasso, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Klee or Kandinsky created works of art by DOING it, by painting and not by talking about painting, what painting is, how it is done, why it is done, etc. Of course an artist can reflect about painting in general, his own painting processes, his materials, why he paints, why he paints a particular work etc. But, this reflecting on and talking about a particular work or his painting in general will not produce a painting. Some artists my find it necessary, even essential to reflect upon  different aspects of the socio-cultural practice of painting in general, his own 'styles' of painting and a particular painting, but such reflection can not replace or be a substitute for the process of painting.
Talking about, critique and reviewing of  a particular painting and the process of painting come after a work of art has been produced. Such more reflective and philosophical activities might be useful for certain artists and particular works of art, but they can not replace the process of painting itself.
I was reminded of the above when I noticed that a certain American gallery proudly refers to their concern with 'critical theory'  (supposedly they refer to the 1960's Frankfurt Schule's mixture of sociological-philosophical ideas . Ideas <that appear to suffer from the -ism of sociological reductionism, sociologism> that are still the latest fad and flavour of the month in certain academic faculties who  have no original insight of their own and who are desperate to find one absolute standpoint, one absolute, all-explanatory system) and art history.

01/02/2014 Ulrich


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by ulrichdebalbian

There is a difference between first order activities  such as painting, playing football or rugby, playing and instrument, composing music, doing philosophy, being a monastic or hermit, etc and  talking about such first order activities. The latter is a second order or meta activity. It is aimed at reflecting on the first order activity. First order and second order activities have different aims and follow different rules. For example, painting and talking about a painting, playing football and talking about playing football have different purposes.
No painting will be created by talking about painting in general or a particular painting. Artists, be it Picasso, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Klee or Kandinsky created works of art by DOING it, by painting and not by talking about painting, what painting is, how it is done, why it is donlc1e, etc. Of course an artist can reflect about painting in general, his own painting processes, his materials, why he paints, why he paints a particular work etc. But, this reflecting on and talking about a particular work or his painting in general will not produce a painting. Some artists my find it necessary, even essential to reflect upon  different aspects of the socio-cultural practice of painting in general, his own 'styles' of painting and a particular painting, but such reflection can not replace or be a substitute for the process of painting.
Talking about, critique and reviewing of  a particular painting and the process of painting come after a work of art has been produced. Such more reflective and philosophical activities might be useful for certain artists and particular works of art, but they can not replace the process of painting itself.
I was reminded of the above when I noticed that a certain American gallery proudly refers to their concern with 'critical theory'  (supposedly they refer to the 1960's Frankfurt Schule's mixture of sociological-philosophical ideas . Ideas <that appear to suffer from the -ism of sociological reductionism, sociologism> that are still the latest fad and flavour of the month in certain academic faculties who  have no original insight of their own and who are desperate to find one absolute standpoint, one absolute, all-explanatory system) and art history.

01/02/2014 Ulrich






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