Modernism set out to be different from academic art. Sacrificing the common human trait that advances culture, i.e. the certainty that lies in the present, in favour something different, as yet uncertain and undiscovered, led to Modernism.

It did not set out to be an area independent of social reality, but intended to express this in its own way. The numerous manifestos of the Cubists, Expressionists, Futurists, Constructivists, Dadaists, Surrealists, put forward as the alternatives of the new, were intended to show that art is about content, not about the artistry of the „maestro“, where art derives from individual skill.

Duchamp is said to have been unable to paint properly. But he could do something different, which became much more important, which was to pass off a urinal as art. This required skill too, but of a different kind. He is said to have been making an ironical comment on modern civilisation with this work. It certainly contained more substance than some nude coming down the stairs. Philosophers of art consoled themselves with the thought that this „anti-art“ was a factor in a dynamic process. It had its own dynamic, culminating in designs executed by machine, celebrating their uselessness in huge dimensions, but costing a lot of money.

Its social relevance is evidenced by the thousands of visitors coming to the exhibition. How to achieve such popularity is as much of a mystery as art itself, as long as you do not simply accept that you just have to be famous. People experience this kind of art as a sensation.

So much for the well-intended manifestos. They now only have a value as subjects for art historians‘ dissertations. So much too for the aura of art as an spiritual experience, for we live in a technical world.

But there is also a kind of art in a handwritten process of invention and production.

And yet again, a sense of dissatisfaction with what has been achieved emerges. Postmodernism wants to retain – must retain – the lure of the fresh and the new, of making new gains by going beyond what has already been achieved.

In its philosophy, it insists that it wants to return to linking society and art by declaring everything valid. It thus sees a way of renewing the pull of what has not yet been experienced. This is what it calls plurality. It is in favour of revitalising experiments, which created a special climate in the arts at the beginnings of Modernism.

Painting with glaze is such an experimental form of art – an idea bound to a technical procedure. Tradition has made way for freedom. The style lies in the special appeal of the material.
The powerful autonomy of the colours is reminiscent of Henri Matisse‘s Gouaches Découpées, their three-dimensional quality of Van Gogh‘s paint applied with a palette knife, the sculptural forms on a colourfully painted background of the tulle drapery on Degas‘ dancers, the merging spots of colour of Max Ernst‘s dripped paintings.

Where the white background colour is involved, it is more graphic art than painting, and these forms and lines are continued in the sculptures. Between them, „relief glaze painting“ forms a combination of painting and sculpture.

Just as society is becoming less and less homogeneous, art is now becoming increasingly pluralist.

© 2010 - 2023 Gustav Weiß