Background picture of modern art
The role of art:
It’s worth noting that art arose throughout human history out of various needs. Occasionally it served as a ceremonial rite, at other times as a religious function, and then as political art, esthetic art, conceptual art, etc. It’s important to ponder art’s role in connection to the assorted periods in order to comprehend that art is not something static but changes in content as well as in its social functionality.
Distinguishing between the arts or towards holistic art:
The arts are divided into painting, sculpture, ceramics, poetry, prose, drama, music, dance, theater, opera, cinema, photography, video, exhibits and installations. The segregation between these arts has changed over the years during the course of history. At times the segregation widened and at other times unification took place between arts such as with theater or the cinema. It’s important to emphasize the musician Wagner’s dream and program to create “holistic art” which would connect between all the arts. It’s important to discuss the unification in contrast to the separation between arts and understand the boundaries between one art medium to another. This raises the question how can art become a type of theater in the context ofart exhibits as has been investigated in Igal Vardi’s work known as a “Concert in Painting”.
Deconstructing form in modern art:
Modern art from the impressionist period through to abstract art has undergone deconstruction of form in a number of stages. In the first stage painting underwent blurring by means of impressionist art which presented reality as a flickering of light rays. In the second stage, painting has undergone distortion of form by means of expressionist art due to emotional exaggeration in depicting reality (like a caricature). In the third stage, painting has undergone deconstruction of reality by means of the cubistic style. Reality has broken up into splinters. In the fourth stage, painting has undergone simplification of form towards infantile art. In the fifth stage painting has moved to a state of elemental association in a bizarre manner in the surrealistic style which has endeavored to present reality as dream-like. And finally in the sixth stage, painting presented the vanished object by means of abstract art.
Namely, modern painting presents a deconstruction of reality in a multi-stage procedure from blurring, through to distortion, dissembling, infantile simplification, bizarre association and disappearance of the object. From this state, artists reach the extreme state where some of them decide to leave the pictorial medium and move on to new media.
Art outside the medium: earth, body, video, conceptual, photography, exhibit, installation art:
Leaving painting with all its elements of canvas, paper, paints, pencil and four ribbed platform has become inevitable due to exhausting the art of painting from realism through to the abstract. In contrast to other art media such as poetry, prose, dance, theater, etc, which have also undergone deconstruction of form in their artistic language, artists have not deserted the accepted medium in these arts. Only in painting such a dramatic change towards new expressive materialshas taken place.
Artists have begun using their bodies as a means of artistic expression. This is manifested by body art. Other artists have used earth and natural raw resources for creating. Others have developed conceptual art where a discussion of art in words and concepts is held while no longer engaging in materials. Others have parted from painting for the benefit of developing the photographic medium followed by the video medium. Other artists have taken objects from reality (ready-made) and installed them in a museum space as part of exhibited art (installations). And last of all, we present art exhibits where the artist presents himself by means of his body and additional accessories facing an audience watching the course of artistic creativity within the space between the artist and the audience. The exhibit interfaces theatrical art in that its work evolves between the audience and the artist. The difference is that theater has text which is recited by actors facing the audience while an exhibit in most cases has no verbal text but is more of a visual artistic act.
The exhibit as a type of theater:
Art exhibitsintegrate the artist, audience and the artistic activity occurring in the exhibiting area facing the spectators. This is the exhibit. The exhibit is similar and interfaces with a number of parameters with theater. Indeed, the triangle of audience, artist and the creative process occur together, simultaneously. In contrast, theater generally has written text which the actors recite and perform opposite the audience. The specific exhibit displayed by Igal Vardi does not contain text. It contains the threesome of plastic art, jazz music of Michael Bar-Am and between them an exhibit of theatrical actors ora nude model or a dancer. This is an attempt to draw the painting close to theatrical medium by means of this specific exhibiting act.
The painting as theater in Igal Vardi’s works
A number of years ago I became interested in expressing painting not as a static product but in presenting the dynamics of the process. I began sketching tens of drawings in black and whitewhich I called: “sketches evolving”. When I drew the object I didn’t raise the pen from the paper. An amorphous process was created bereft of form, a nonsense-scribble which gradually led to a clearer and realistic shape in specific parts of the work. These works were presented at an exhibition at the Artists' ResidenceGallery in Herzliya. An accompanying catalogue provides samples of some of the works and also included are explanatory articles of the curator and of the catalogue’s other participants.
“A concert in painting” as a theatrical exhibit:
I didn’t stop with evolving painting on paper but I wanted to enhance the idea of painting with movement. I had this carried out through the idea of painting in front of an audience. For then the audience does not see a finished and static painting but is exposed to a process, evolvement and dynamics of the painting activity.
In addition, the very fact that the work faces the audience induces additional processes which are unconnected to the evolving content but to the actual show facing the spectators. Indeed, in general an artist paints within “his own four walls” in a closed and concealed studio away from the spectator’s eyes. I have coined the creation a “Concert in Painting” as it refers to a show in front of spectators, on a stage where Michael Bar-Am, a jazz musician, accompanies it.
A concert in painting finally crystallized into an art exhibit having clear interfaces with the world of theater. Yet the artist and the musician do not present a theatrical text and therefore this is not theater. What is displayed is an evolving painted work accompanied by music which, of course, is quite naturally applied to the evolvingmedium. Dancers, or a nude model, or theatrical actors performedbetween the artist and the musician. Namely, the exhibit received an additional artistic element. One can add that the photographer, who is not an artist but a professional photographer, is also an extra element in the final exhibit as posited as a film commemorating the concert in painting.
The concerts in painting were displayed at a Two-Artist Festival and the Teatroneto Festival in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, at the “Habima” and at the Jerusalem Theater.
Guernica ll – War and Peace:
I decided to expand the Concert in Painting into a painting comprising a special theme. In commemoration of the seventieth year of the birth of the most important painting of the twentieth century known as “Guernica” painted by Picasso, I decided to paint the second Guernica coined War and Peace as homage to Picasso’s Guernica.
This creation too was displayed at Teatroneto in Acre and was accompanied by the creating process by Michael Bar-Am’s jazz music while analternately changing audience of coming and going spectators attended the eventfrom morning to evening during the course of three days.
The writer: Igal Vardi