Modern Sanat Evliyaları

Saints of Modern Art

Mustafa Günen (English)

Axis Shifts in Modern Art; The Second World War caused great economic difficulties in Europe. For this reason, the strength of the American economy and currency, dollar, has increased very much. As in every field, art has been affected by these developments. Art also got its share from practical and consumption-oriented analysis of American society. Modern art has gradually come upon controversial points in the fifties under the influence of America’s social structure and characteristic behaviors. The economic power of the American art community has also influenced modern art critics and theorists in Europe in compatibilty with its request. As a result of these developments, comments and definitions related to art gradually turned towards the process of becoming contentless.

Art is an aesthetic endeavor in its generally known definition. However, for the reasons I mentioned above, some people brought the inner structure of modern art to a degree of almost no criterion; some others have incorporated many surprising or exciting formations into art. Thus, concepts such as the aesthetic presentation of the content of the art, the expectations of beauty, and most importantly authenticity, have been abandoned or ignored. Eventually, art became a formation that excludes the obligations of the concepts. They camouflaged with arguments of philosophical content such as “It is whatever you see; whatever you understand.” So, an ambiguous result based on liking came forward as “Modern painting is whatever itself is.”  Of course, this brought the fact that “It” was also nothing.

In summary, the known real values of art, the content of which has been emptied since the sixties, have been pushed out of the work. As such, the work has ceased to be the reference carrier of the concept of art. Instead, the works created in simple, abstract, usually random ways were presented as art. The work was cited as a reference to itself with the explanation of “It is what you see, what you feel.” In other words, such a ridiculous situation as “The criterion of the formation that is put forward as art is itself” came forward. In common terms, this is the strangeness of disabling the relevant provisions, as for what is to be judged. To summarize, what is done in the name of modern art is the effort to bring the art to fitting the form of work instead of revealing the artwork in accordance with art.


With the developments that I have explained partly above, modern art is an is an attempt to lead to ambiguous and only admiration criterion like ‘what you see and feel’; indeed an attempt to take the artist and his work away from criticism and questioning. Thus, it brings the ease of acceptance of the work without question, this is even cunning. It is an effort to mentally enslave the audience, the art lover or at least its practices serve this. Their point is “We are artists, whatever we do is true as art. Do not just question beyond acceptance, do not try to understand.” Regardless of purpose, this behavior is an exploitation of values.

This attitude is similar to the exploitation of belief. There are also religious leaders in the world of belief that make people adhered to themselves. These people have a spiritual status called saint. According to this status, saint cannot be criticized and questioned for their actions and discourses. There is wisdom in what they do. Therefore, it is not possible to question saint wisdom. Because of this similarity, I used the expression of ‘saints of modern art’. The artists present themselves as saints and their works as an object of wisdom. In this way, they try to be beyond questioning and criticism. The reason for the troubling point of modern painting today is the adoption of unnecessary and impractical discourses such as autonomy of art. However, art has not become autonomous; the artist has become autonomous. As such, many artists have disabled artistic requirements for his work and have only referred his work to himself, not art. This is an extremely inconvenient situation.

If the criterion or reference of the work of art will be itself, including the artist, critics will also be disabled. The work will be independent, whatever it is, will build a wall excluding art units other than itself, and it will not recognize them or at least reject them. In other words, the work will not need neither critics, art historians or theorists, art consultants or even galleries. As I have emphasized before, as a result, it will not need the artist either.

The artists are not responsible for this result. Because, based on the widely scoped freedom that the concept of art gives him, the artist can produce very extreme discourses and works in the name of creativity. Here, other art endeavorers that are indispensable balancing elements of art will be in charge. These are art historians, critics and art theorists. When the artist comes up with a new idea or creates an object of art, these people will make his assessment and reach a conclusion. Because when the critic looks at the work, if there is a similarity to the styles in the history of art, he will evaluate it in that category. If there is no similarity but he thinks that it meets the art criteria, if it is a new style, then he will theoretize this style and bring it out to discussion. Thus, by preserving the originality of the artist, he will make a place for him in art -if there is a style. This is usually what has happened in the past and this is the correct way.


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