The Man with the Golden Coin

Similarly to all objective processes, Art represents an energy flow, which has its own beginning, length and end. Like all things, it has own conception, birth, childhood, youth, maturity, old age and finally death, with the destruction of the body. The energy duration could be imagined as a sinusoid, with its starting point at the zero ground, which goes on upwards to its culmination of development–the Apogee–and then it descends back again to the point of zero. This way, it could be imagined as one of those thousand-year cycles in a chain. Countless cycles preceded it, and new countless cycles to come will continue this eternal vibration, like the heart beats, like inhalations and exhalations, like ebb and flow, like day and night, up to the end of being. A force for the continuation of the everlasting immanent sinusoid comes from the zero point, which is always unchangeable. The point of Zero, although it depicts an image of the nothingness, is a symbol of the ultimate Transcendence and this is the only unchanging Eternity.

A starting process is always constructive, and therefore any beginning cannot start from destruction. It means that art in its youth, in its starting point could be only constructive, purely spiritual, and in this state still close to the Transcendent. Even if the art was not so technically developed, it was still healthy and had a huge potentiality of growth. Such a sort of art we can see in the history of the early ages of the present humanity on the murals of the caves of Altamira and Lascaux, in sculptural works, such as Venus of Willendorf or Venus of Kostenki. This is a sacred and shamanic art, wild and rough, but there it is already possible to notice a way of a certain stylization and one can find there some sort of an artistic language. As an example of the highest point of the sinusoid, as a point of the perfection of the technical skill in the visual arts, where ripe, matured human personality had been harmoniously combined with the still non-lost connection with the spiritual, we can probably point out the Renaissance, as well as the Baroque.

The whole period of the art historical and simultaneously a social development of a human person had very bright evolutionary features; everything followed in order and could continue this natural flow for ages, until the process of evolution was blown up by a revolution. The European “Enlightenment”, with a help of a mass education has become a catalyst of a new civil self-identity. Since then, the process has changed a nature and trajectory. The Pre-Modern part of the white man’s history has ended, and a new “educated” person has got new features: “own will” and “own concept”, which could differ and which could contradict or be even much more advanced than that one, which was accepted by the state and church hierarchy. If in the past it was a fate of the individuals, like Galileo Galilei, Leonardo da Vinci or Nicolaus Copernicus, now the possibility has become available for the masses. So, since then the “new person” could not tolerate the traditional old system of values and a form of state as its projection. The first bell-ring of such a revolution of consciousness had sounded on the scaffolds and guillotines of the British and French coup d’?tats, and was immediately reflected in art. We can hear its echo in the paintings of Delacroix, Gericault and in the tragic themes of Goya. A new bright feature of a mentality of that period–a neurotic euphoric state of the romantic attitude to the new social reality. Romanticism itself had become a new belief and a charm for this new, “liberated” man. The ecstatic neuroticism, which has appeared in this period in art, reflected a new state of the person, which obtained a new form of Ego. The conventionally high education formed a new outlook, where religion got a very small space. Starting from that time, among of the “educated”, “progressive” people to be religious, almost automatically meant to be ignorant. So, a “new man” had subconsciously started to sense a danger of a disconnection with the divine Transcendental, and at the same time to feel a sort of exaltation as an effect of the self-will. Those also were the first steps of the “prodigal son” in the spiritual aberration on the art paths. It was the start of the epoch of the Big Modern.

One of the results of the Second World War was the disillusionment in the ideal of the “new man”. It was disillusionment in the failure of the romantic idealism. The post-war generation, having seen millions the killed and suffering across Europe, got a feeling of a certain falsehood in the values of Romanticism, and started to doubt in its potential as a main stream of the way of a social thought development. As a reaction, there was the total rejection of all that had even a slightest connection with the romantic and idealistic. Some artists of the new Avant-guard decided to reject all that which had any connection to the human feelings, seeing in them a danger of the future relapse of a romantic war. Dehumanization by destruction of the human image and just of any live form in art has become the main stream of the artistic thought of Modernism.

However, a different part of the art society, which still believed in humanism and in the centuries-old cultural and art traditions, reacted differently, calling everyone to the “return to order”, and to get a new look at the humanism. They came to be called the ‘Neo-Romantics’.

They believed in man and his potentiality. The Neo-Humanists, Neo-Romantics, who have got the knowledge of the new psychological research, saw a human being through the prism of new anthropological doctrines, and their way became alternative to the art of the Avant-gardists (the Post-Humanists).

Thus in 1910-1920s, the Art, as a holistic energy stream was separated into two parts, according to the belief in humanity and humaneness itself, to the human sensuality and emotionality, to the sensation and the connection to the Transcendent itself. The first part, which was represented by the Neo-Humanistic art and which struggled for the “art salvation”, has become a natural continuation of the Evolutionary development; but the second one — art of the dehumanization, art created by the post-human pioneers, so-called “Modernists”, appeared as the anti-human Revolutionary art trend. The sources of the art of both these art branches were very different; the humanistic art had a source in the human soul, which is always connected to the Transcendent; but the post-human art of Modernists had originated in the mental constructs of the dual mind, which is closed to the Divine, and cut off from the Transcendent.

It is amazing to notice that from that time (perhaps starting with the Douchamp’s urinal in 1917) they still didn’t make a step forward in relations with the people. They shout that even Karl Marx wrote that only an artistically educated man can understand and enjoy art. So, even if Marx wrote not about Modernism, according to the point of view of the Modernists, most people must see themselves as uneducated sub-humans, animals, like “Mules, without understanding” (see more on this theme at )

Of course, it is true that most people hated this sort of modern art in the past, and they continue to hate it in the present. Why? The point is that this modern art is dehumanized, but people are still human! What does it mean? Dehumanization, first of all it is a refusal of any connection to the Transcendent. Transcendent ability is what makes a human being to be human. A beast has no such feature, so it cannot attain Enlightenment, Liberation and Salvation. Without Transcendence, a man really becomes a sort of a beast, or in this context–a post-human.

Modernism has devalued the soul, sensations, and sensuality. All that which it could do is to warp all natural forms, build from them some cubes and other geometrical things to prove the correctness of the most proud egocentric, materialistic rationality to take rise over all the living divine creation. Modernism could not tolerate any spirituality and religiosity, just because its adepts had no personal connection with the Spirit.

The Modernists perceive all the spiritual, visionary and imaginative works as being “too melodramatic”, “kitschy”, “surfeit of spiritual”.

The problem is that they, saying this about the live human art, told the truth! But, this was their own truth, which came from the sensation of their own “reality”! We cannot judge them for this, as we cannot judge the insane or dead. They “saw” this world exactly this way. So, they didn’t lie! Their souls simply had no any chance to respond to any spiritual maters, just because of the lack of any ability to do that.

It is impossible to say that Modernists, and nowadays the Post-Modernists, are untalented and they cannot have own fans even among of the morally and spiritually non-decadent art audience. However, it is necessary to remember that destruction and decay also can be sort of beautiful, and an explosion and death, or even suffering, can look aesthetic.

Sometimes, for someone for psychological reasons–maybe when one has a too brutal and non-moving mentality–it is necessary to blast it as an ice-jam on the river in the spring, and Modernism, perhaps can be helpful in it. Such a person can even feel some relief. But still, one needs to remember that it is a destruction of the natural flow and humanism.

Originally, all state institutions didn’t accept Modernists, seeing their “deconstructivism”, as they called it, and called it their enemies – “degeneration”, of the cultural values of the nations generated by ages. In 1930s, the European Modernists were pushed out to emigrate from the continental Nazi Europe to the United States, and since they were mostly the “Left” political persuasion (of the Trotsky type). Initially, they were considered by the US Government to be also a part of the “Red Threat”. But, in spite of the prospering Modern Classicism in America of that period, it was the same way as in the Third Reich and Soviet Union. In spite of the fact that some US Congressmen were against of the support and sponsorship of the Revolutionary artists of Modernism, very soon their counter-cultural gist was obviously found out as a friendly to the “Melting pot” concept, as well as there was found a way to repurchase a big part of those pro-Communists, Modernists artists of the Avant-garde and turn them into kind of Liberals (Democrats) and even Liberal-fundamentalists (Neo-Conservatives).

Thus they killed two birds with one stone: Pro-Communist (Pro-Trotskyists) artists, the potential agents of Comintern, have become Democrats and thus their destructive force was directed not against of the Capitalists of the United States, but against Communists of the Stalin’s type, considering that they already were their enemies. It is necessary to say that it was a masterful move of the US secret services, and here they played their part of a Paganini, if we compare them to the awkward and imprudent play of the Soviet Cultural Department.

Since then, in 1950s, the “Avant-garde”, the pioneering part of the of the ideological post-humans in art, got a new name of the “Contemporary art” and thus, the Revolutionary art branch set up a claim to all present time itself, making the Evolutionary art being illegal not only in space of the art field, but in the time continuum itself. Since then, all other art was automatically labeled as old fashioned, even though it was created in the present time. It has become one more brilliant trick and substitution of the notions in the frames of the Cultural Cold War, which was conducted by the USA against the USSR. The “Contemporary art” has become the only art acceptable, and all the rest of art has become either non-art at all, or still an art but non-contemporary, outdated. The Evolutionary art got the labels of “Nazi Kunst”, “Communist art”, “Conservative art” etc. This way, all sorts of Figurative, Imaginative, Visionary art, even of the highest artistic levels were marginalized, and posed rather as Craft (similar to the wood carving or embroidery); artists of the Evolutionary art had become to be considered instead as artisans, and the art galleries, which still represented this sort of art were instead perceived as art shops, sothey could not have a major role, or even any minor role on the art market.

Actually, there is nothing new and surprising in the fact that some country conducts a certain art policy which expresses its own ideology via the art visualization, elevating some styles and lowering the importance of the others, by the means of setting up certain art canons. Such a behavior was normal in all civilizations, starting maybe with ancient Egypt, Greece and Babylon. In the USSR and also in the Third Reich, it also was their art and cultural politics, but it was proclaimed openly and was openly sponsored by the state. Very unlike from the United States, where this kind of sponsorship was of a secret character. The point is: Modernism in USA had to be posed as a “free art” of the “free world”, in the opposition to the “non-free art” of the “non-free world”. So, US government, which established this system and rules and spread them also around the countries of the all “free world”, by the reasons of the officially stated “ideology of freedom”, could not publically admit that there is some censorship in art. The censorship had a hidden character, and it was carried out by financial and media mechanisms, by the cutting out of the politically unwanted artists from the art market, by a marginalization and concealment of their art activity and thus, dooming the artists, due to the total lack of funds to death by hunger or to compel them to change their occupations. The same vein, they would not publicly admit that they sponsored those Modernists loyal to the regime (by opening them all the doors and supporting all their steps which were necessary in the propagandists’ play of the Cultural Cold War).

The secrecy of the ongoing Cultural Cold War has become a very big problem for artists of the Evolutionary stream in the West. They, also being politically loyal to the Democratic states, could not understand why their art, while having incomparably higher artistic level, due to the value of the ideas and skill, could not be exhibited in most of the important art galleries and museums. Why could they not be accepted in the art market, why did not the art critics pay any attention to their art, why did they call it “Nazi Kunst”, “Communist art”, “Conservative art” or “Kitsch”? Such situations were faced by and still are faced by thousands of artists! Usually, when they come to some important gallery to show art works, the most polite answer they hear: “Sorry, we do not exhibit this style”. So, such an artist understands nothing, and he or she is just overwhelmed. The artist thinks that he did his best, and sees that his works are much better than many of those, which are represented by the galleries. But in most cases, the poor wretch comes to accept that a problem is with in his works, in his art, thinking that maybe he is not talented enough. The artist cannot even imagine that the problem is not in him because he is healthy, but that the problem is with the present mainstream of art itself, – the former “Revolutionary” art branch, which occupied the whole art scene, and which is spiritually sick. The artist cannot realize that the problem is in the art system, which still acts as a hidden tool of the Cultural war, passing off a genuine Soviet-style of the “Planning economics” as the “Free market” of Capitalism.

Some years ago, a similar situation happened to a Norwegian fellow named Odd Nerdrum; being a talented and devoted “Evolutionary” artist, he was refused by the “Revolutionary”, but politically corrupted art system and it made him to draw some conclusions, which only were possible to do in that time and that place. He recalls: “Even though I was captured by art early in life, I soon came into contact with something else. By the age of 20, I was caught up by the red light of the sunset. Still I heard my stepfather’s warning: “Remember the moderns. This go well for them. If you go on like this, you will do badly”. As I forced my way into the art world in the late 1960?s, I could hear the echo of his words in my head. The reactions to my work were ferocious. The harassment I was put through had deeper roots than the opposition against Edvard Munch, which soon turned into a noisy adoration as he became a Modernist. At the time I understood that something was wrong, but exactly what was beyond of my comprehension. I tried to act like an artist to the best of my abilities, and for many years I actually believed I was an artist. The first time I got an idea of what might be wrong in the late 1970?s. I had been allowed to hang two of my larger paintings &endash; ‘Arrest’ and ‘The Murder of Andereas Baader’ — in the new students house at the University of Oslo. I must confess I had bribed the board with prints, though this was at time where artists were paid to exhibit. However, I felt it served its purpose as long as I could fulfill the dream of seeing my larger compositions displayed to the public. They were beautifully hung above a staircase, which almost looked like a Caravaggio chapel. But it did not take long before someone disliked the show. A committee at the Academy of Art had decided that the paintings on this particular staircase had to come down. They surprised me with the letter saying that “All decorations” had to be removed within a fortnight. Than I ran into one of those who had made the decision, the recognized artist Arvid Pettersen. I looked him straight in the eyes and asked: “How could you do this to a colleague?”. He just stared at me and could not answer. Then I got the feeling he had understood something I had not: That I wasn’t an artist.”