lunedì 4 aprile 2016

How come that the Impressionists are so fashionable?

How come that the Impressionists are so fashionable? The bourgeoisie of today is so changed or emancipated compared to that period of the Salon? This is the question that I ask myself in front of a Monet, before I clash with the picture. I say clash, and I mean it, for a reason I am going to say. One of the big changes that came with the Impressionist painting concern space. Not the space in the painting (not just that) but the space of the painting. That is why the concept of space, here, is another. In a painting in which the viewer find space to enter also find something that happened in a past time, even if just in the head of the painter. The viewer can share it, yet that time and that space are past; something was there and we can find it again in the context in which the artist lets us enter; but with Monet this does not happen. With the Impressionists, and most important with Monet, the picture becomes a surface. It is not as will happen with cubism, but it started that way. Until then, the painting was almost always been associated with a window that we have to cross with the eyes, with Monet the window is closed and we are faced with a glass. In a Monet in fact you do not enter, just as we do not enter into a glass. We are spectators of something that has been somewhere, and now is no longer anywhere. If until then, painting concerned what has been and the painting alowed it to continue to be, with Monet we found ourselves in front of what is no more, something that will not be shared in its being there always. This is why Monet does not need a space in wich we can enter but a surface. This was one of the reasons that upset the bourgeoisie. The period of Impressionism has been studied over and over again, socially, politically, psychologically. Much has been said and I have nothing to add again, except that, for the first time in history, in those years time became money. The motto of the bourgeoisie was "Arrichez vous!". Conection between banks, newspapers, industries and collectors just started. Time had been many things: the energy of the seasons, a god, a destiny, a mistery, a healing victory, a forest, a cave, a spiral, a cycle. All places in wich a human being can enter (sometimes with anguish sometimes with desire) with others. With all the others. With money, instead, there is no place to enter. That was the period in wich the bourgeoisie felt his victory and was convinced of its superior being; but it was also the time in wich was faced with his inadequacy. Inadequacy that especially today we all can feel. Time was now an arrow: only one dimension that showed everyone the right direction. Obviously the arrow had been shot by the bourgeoisie. For this reason paintings by Monet were ostile. The arrow found itself crashing the glass. The bourgeoisie of today loves impressionism and especially Monet. His paintings are reproduced anywhere: bags, bottles, advertising, book covers, blankets. Does this means that the bourgeoisie has at last understood and is now closer to the Impressionists? No. The middle class has just managed how to exorcize Monet; now he has become harmless. Now let me explain how. Men have always been in need of the rite. In the rural world, the mith, had always lived through the rites. An example is the Mass that was a rite that has crystallized for millennia a religious belief; all religious practices, can be summarized in a single scheme: the eternal return of the death and resurrection, death and resurrection of nature, of grass, of the harvest. Now for the modern man this eternal return does not make sense. Instead of seasonal cycles we placed all the endless cycles of production and consumption; production and consumption of bicycles, car, clothes. Production and consumption is an artificial rather than natural cycle, but it is a cycle. Each power has its own form of ritual and this cycle created by the industrial power has given rise to new rites. Today rites are of a different type. An example is being lined up in front of the television or be in a row in the car on the weekend, or go for a picnic in a meadow always in the weekend. One of the features of the disappearance of the ancient myth replaced by industrialization is the disappearance of initiation. Puberty, for the Catholic religion, had communion and confirmation, and many others faith during the history of man hade infinite other kind of initiations. All of them where a need of climbing the steps that lead to the cicle of life and integration in a society. These things do not matter nowdays, does not make any sense. İn hte society of consumerism there is no longer initiation; we are born already consumers. A child is born already integrated in the same cycle of consumption that homologate him to an adult. So the cicles and the rites of industrial consumerism made us beleave to live in a world without rites, miths and cicles. A world where time and space are useless if you don’t use them to make money. But is just an illusion. This illusion comes from the speed of the production cilcles that are now so fast that we usually do not perceive them. We are in a continuos present that never move and that we can’t grab. This is where the illusion that capitalism will never end comes from. So what is all this about in Monet? As I try to talk about Monet and try to talk about the power of bourgeosie today I find myself using similar terms. Elusive time. Inability to create a space in which sharing something that happened, so that will last forever; all these sound very similar to the idea of space and time that bourgeoisie and industrial culture created. Similar but not identical. Actually is the opposite. The use that we are doing now of Monet is the opposite of what he wanted to do with his image because even thou he deleted space and time, as I said, he crated images that cant’ be consumpted. Now the surfaces he painted have found space on the surfaces of consumer goods. Industry use paintings of Mone to sell whatever can have an image on itself. In these way the order so dear to the bourgeoisie, that order that impressionists broke, has been restored. We find his paintings especially on calendars. Across Europe a whay much used to enjoy painting is riproducing it on calendars and fix them at home. There are thousands; for each month is associated a picture. Monet is among the top sellers. His elusive time. His inability to create a space in which to get us to share something that happened, so that will last forever. His way of showing something that was there, but there will be no more; all these, has been stuck in a sheet, summarized and divided into days. The problem of space and time is now solved. The arrow of time do not have the problem of crushing on his paintings, it found its way of buy and sell Monet and continue on his linear way. There was another painter the bourgeoisie never wanted; far from his contemporaries he was even lonelier than Monet. With Cezanne the space that Monet had taken away from us is restored; in him we find past, present and future; the here and now and there and at that time. All in a painting that give us a space that we can all share infinitly. We could call him the anti impressionist and can almost never be found on bourgeois calendars . But that's another story.

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