Since Picasso and Duchamp painting has entered a crisis – the brush crisis. The fact is that painters have abandoned the pictorial medium for new fields: body art, earth art, ready-made, conceptualism, exhibits, installations, photography and video art. Indeed painting is dead.
In order to revive it we require a new theory, both in the field of painting art and in the sphere of philosophy. Why? The assumption is that artists paint pictures of their world of reality. Namely, an epistemological world is concealed through every style.
The Dada group, in its time strove to deconstruct everything, to reach emptiness and begin everything anew. It was born out of a protest against the disappointing world. From art’s point of view it did not invent the new, but was based on painting styles which were crystallizing at the same time. But as a political and artistic protest it represented the nihilistic program of destruction as protest.
In our time, we are endeavoring to breathe life into painting anew. We require a new Dada for a Zero Point, that Archimedes point from which we would be able to grow. Some contemporary painters state that the painting’s components should be deconstructed into parts and we should begin from the point, go on to line, and on to surface, movement, color and so on. Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee in their own way, have succeeded in doing this very impressively, both in theory and in practice.
However, nowadays we are not required to start everything anew by deconstructing painting components in an atomistic, disconnected and separated manner, but we must keep the whole of the pictorial syntax and examine the stylistic options still not expressed in the painting language on the basis of a new epistemological world picture.
Jean Arp is a sturdy basis to start from. Indeed he combined two theoretical trends bestowing them with a plastic expression in the language of painting. The one is about touching randomness which is a primeval movement, without direction and aim; a movement existing in entropic deconstruction.
The secondaims at emulating movements from fauna and flora. A movement which possesses randomness as well as structure. The parts exist within a whole and the whole exists in the aimed movement. A field of forces is in a winding movement, sometimes random, sometimes reacting to outside constraints and at other times acting with its own purposeful aim.
Marcel Janco, Jean Arp’s colleague and friend in the Dada group, provides a complementary balance to Arp’s twisting and distorting form trend in painting. Marcel Janco’s painting is characterized by a reverse architectonic, structural and geometrical leaning. He represents reality in the organizational scaffolding concealed from the eye, enabling the swarm of movement to move in its tracks. Arp is absolutely abstract. In contrast, Janco moves between the tangible and the abstract.
Three geometries structure the physical world we live in: the topological, the projective and the Euclidean. The primary topological geometry represents the three-dimensional space on the fourth dimensional axis which is movement. Topology represents the morphogenesis, namely, the evolving form. Jean Arp worked on presenting it artistically.
The second, projective geometry- represents the world in three dimensions by means of the geometrical and constructive structure. Following cubism and parallel to it, Marcel Janco succeeded in presenting reality, both the tangibleand the abstract, by means ofprojective and structured geometry.
The third geometry, the Euclidean - represents reality as a two dimensional realistic illusion. Arp found no interest in engaging in this while Janco painted in accordance with Euclidean geometry in his figurative works.
The aim of the painting style called “topological painting” is to simultaneously unify the three geometrical categories (Euclidian, projective and topological) in constructing reality as a kaleidoscopic Rashomon.
The basic assumption is that we view reality through these three expressive points:
The realistic, the cubist and the expressive one. In parallel it has been claimed that reality evolves dynamically out of these three geometries.
The topological painting developed by me over recent years has been constructed through the voiced echo of Picasso, Soutine, Boccioni, Dali and Bacon - but also of Arp and Janco.An encompassing mutual influence held sway among all these celebrated artists in the common historical time and space in which they worked and created.
The topological painting sides with an essential linkage between these three points of view of reality, based on one of the topological principles which is called the Borromeic connection. This connection maintains that the triangular connection is essential and it is impossible to separate between the components, namely, between these three stylistic points of view.
Jean Arp, with round and twisted forms, and in contact with randomness and entropy, and in contrast, Marcel Janco with geometrical structures, both together create the double basis of the Borromeic connection.
The second principle of topology is characterized by a Mobius strip stating that exterior and interior in relation to an object are joined together, namely, there is neither exterior nor interior – everything is one side.
Both Arp and Janco present the enigmatic and exciting connection in their works, where exterior and interior dissolve and create each other within a contained connection.
This exhibitionnamed: New Dada – Zero Point as homage to Arp and Janco is endeavoring to resuscitate the pictorial syntax based on a program and declared manifest. It doesn’t have Dada’s nihilistic and destructive pathos, desiring to shatter and fragment. But it does haveArp’s and Janco’s fresh and balanced effect, in providing new alternatives without extending yesterday’s tradition. Whoever looks into the yesterday creates a true dialogue with the pictorial tradition, and can create the new avant-garde towards tomorrow.
The topological painting is a product of postmodern pluralism but in a new version siding with a synthesis between styles while creating a super-texture between topological expressionism, projective cubism and Euclidean realism. For reality evolves and isolates between unity and its components and vice-versa.
Igal Vardi 2006