I came across a couple of manifestos today which really spoke to my heart and soul about how I feel about art creation. I really get fed up with the dollarfication of art, the soullessnes of collectors like Saatchi for whom art is about the almighty dollar and tame artists bowing and scraping to him, and the creation of art such as a skull with diamonds set by staff and costing squillions; sterile paintings of dots (as opposed to the grandeur of Aboriginal dot art); a dead shark pickled in a tank all of which – to my mind and shock, horror! – relate more to the emperor with no clothes, worship of the unworthy and arid.
I got very excited by these manifestos – The Stuckists and Remodernism. I must admit I make a late entry into the lists on these two ideas but they are right up my alley and inspired the digital art above.
I love the idea of getting UNSTUCKED!
“Your paintings are stuck,
you are stuck!
Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!”
Against conceptualism, hedonism and the cult of the ego-artist.
- Stuckism is the quest for authenticity. By removing the mask of cleverness and admitting where we are, the Stuckist allows him/herself uncensored expression.
- Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving breadth and detail.
- Stuckism proposes a model of art which is holistic. It is a meeting of the conscious and unconscious, thought and emotion, spiritual and material, private and public. Modernism is a school of fragmentation — one aspect of art is isolated and exaggerated to detriment of the whole. This is a fundamental distortion of the human experience and perpetrates an egocentric lie.
- Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.
- Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.
- The Stuckist paints pictures because painting pictures is what matters.
- The Stuckist is not mesmerised by the glittering prizes, but is wholeheartedly engaged in the process of painting. Success to the Stuckist is to get out of bed in the morning and paint.
- It is the Stuckist’s duty to explore his/her neurosis and innocence through the making of paintings and displaying them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared form to individual experience and an individual form to shared experience.
- The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur (amare, Latin, to love) who takes risks on the canvas rather than hiding behind ready-made objects (e.g. a dead sheep). The amateur, far from being second to the professional, is at the forefront of experimentation, unencumbered by the need to be seen as infallible. Leaps of human endeavour are made by the intrepid individual, because he/she does not have to protect their status. Unlike the professional, the Stuckist is not afraid to fail.
- Painting is mysterious. It creates worlds within worlds, giving access to the unseen psychological realities that we inhabit. The results are radically different from the materials employed. An existing object (e.g. a dead sheep) blocks access to the inner world and can only remain part of the physical world it inhabits, be it moorland or gallery. Ready-made art is a polemic of materialism.
- Post Modernism, in its adolescent attempt to ape the clever and witty in modern art, has shown itself to be lost in a cul-de-sac of idiocy. What was once a searching and provocative process (as Dadaism) has given way to trite cleverness for commercial exploitation. The Stuckist calls for an art that is alive with all aspects of human experience; dares to communicate its ideas in primeval pigment; and possibly experiences itself as not at all clever!
- Against the jingoism of Brit Art and the ego-artist. Stuckism is an international non-movement.
- Stuckism is anti ‘ism’. Stuckism doesn’t become an ‘ism’ because Stuckism is not Stuckism, it is stuck!
- Brit Art, in being sponsored by Saachis, main stream conservatism and the Labour government, makes a mockery of its claim to be subversive or avant-garde.
- The ego-artist’s constant striving for public recognition results in a constant fear of failure. The Stuckist risks failure wilfully and mindfully by daring to transmute his/her ideas through the realms of painting. Whereas the ego-artist’s fear of failure inevitably brings about an underlying self-loathing, the failures that the Stuckist encounters engage him/her in a deepening process which leads to the understanding of the futility of all striving. The Stuckist doesn’t strive — which is to avoid who and where you are — the Stuckist engages with the moment.
- The Stuckist gives up the laborious task of playing games of novelty, shock and gimmick. The Stuckist neither looks backwards nor forwards but is engaged with the study of the human condition. The Stuckists champion process over cleverness, realism over abstraction, content over void, humour over wittiness and painting over smugness.
- If it is the conceptualist’s wish to always be clever, then it is the Stuckist’s duty to always be wrong.
- The Stuckist is opposed to the sterility of the white wall gallery system and calls for exhibitions to be held in homes and musty museums, with access to sofas, tables, chairs and cups of tea. The surroundings in which art is experienced (rather than viewed) should not be artificial and vacuous.
- Crimes of education: instead of promoting the advancement of personal expression through appropriate art processes and thereby enriching society, the art school system has become a slick bureaucracy, whose primary motivation is financial. The Stuckists call for an open policy of admission to all art schools based on the individual’s work regardless of his/her academic record, or so-called lack of it.
We further call for the policy of entrapping rich and untalented students from at home and abroad to be halted forthwith.
We also demand that all college buildings be available for adult education and recreational use of the indigenous population of the respective catchment area. If a school or college is unable to offer benefits to the community it is guesting in, then it has no right to be tolerated.
- Stuckism embraces all that it denounces. We only denounce that which stops at the starting point — Stuckism starts at the stopping point!
The following have been proposed to the Bureau of Inquiry for possible inclusion as Honorary Stuckists:
Vincent van Gogh
‘towards a new spirituality in art’
A Stuckist Document: The first Remodernist art group (est. 1999)
Through the course of the 20th century Modernism has progressively lost its way, until finally toppling into the pit of Postmodern balderdash. At this appropriate time, The Stuckists, the first Remodernist Art Group, announce the birth of Remodernism.
1. Remodernism takes the original principles of Modernism and reapplies them, highlighting vision as opposed to formalism.
2. Remodernism is inclusive rather than exclusive and welcomes artists who endeavour to know themselves and find themselves through art processes that strive to connect and include, rather than alienate and exclude. Remodernism upholds the spiritual vision of the founding fathers of Modernism and respects their bravery and integrity in facing and depicting the travails of the human soul through a new art that was no longer subservient to a religious or political dogma and which sought to give voice to the gamut of the human psyche.
3. Remodernism discards and replaces Post-Modernism because of its failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being.
4. Remodernism embodies spiritual depth and meaning and brings to an end an age of scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy.
5. We don’t need more dull, boring, brainless destruction of convention, what we need is not new, but perennial. We need an art that integrates body and soul and recognises enduring and underlying principles which have sustained wisdom and insight throughout humanity’s history. This is the proper function of tradition.
6. Modernism has never fulfilled its potential. It is futile to be ‘post’ something which has not even ‘been’ properly something in the first place. Remodernism is the rebirth of spiritual art.
7. Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.
8. Spiritual art is not about fairyland. It is about taking hold of the rough texture of life. It is about addressing the shadow and making friends with wild dogs. Spirituality is the awareness that everything in life is for a higher purpose.
9. Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity’s quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists.
10. The making of true art is man’s desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.
11. It should be noted that technique is dictated by, and only necessary to the extent to which it is commensurate with, the vision of the artist.
12. The Remodernist’s job is to bring God back into art but not as God was before. Remodernism is not a religion, but we uphold that it is essential to regain enthusiasm (from the Greek, en theos to be possessed by God).
13. A true art is the visible manifestation, evidence and facilitator of the soul’s journey. Spiritual art does not mean the painting of Madonnas or Buddhas. Spiritual art is the painting of things that touch the soul of the artist. Spiritual art does not often look very spiritual, it looks like everything else because spirituality includes everything.
14. Why do we need a new spirituality in art? Because connecting in a meaningful way is what makes people happy. Being understood and understanding each other makes life enjoyable and worth living.
It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry. The principles on which Modernism was based are sound, but the conclusions that have now been reached from it are preposterous.
We address this lack of meaning, so that a coherent art can be achieved and this imbalance redressed.
Let there be no doubt, there will be a spiritual renaissance in art because there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism’s mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now.