THE PRINCIPLES OF MIRANDOLAN ART
From the start the urgent question presses itself upon our attention:
WHAT WILL WE AGREE UPON? WHAT FORM OF LANGUAGE WILL ENSURE WE REACH UNITY ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WORDS OR ACHIEVE ONE AND THE SAME MEANING?
We – YOU AND I, and the public concerned with art, or artists themselves – cannot leave this question unanswered. Should we perhaps attempt to answer it by posing another question?
Or a series of questions, such as:
Is it possible to comprehend a work of art without making reference to explanatory definitions?
Should one establish rules to regulate how a work of art is used?
Ought one to compare a work of visual art with a verbal utterance?
I will attempt to provide another answer, a metaphorical one:
MIRANDOLA was the key concept/the vision/the keyword which gave access to the art of my MASTER. In real terms, it is the name of a town in Italy, in the Po Valley, the birthplace of the humanist, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. He, however, saw it as something SYMBOLIC, that “would be created” by the poetic wisdom of SAPIENZA
POETICA. In his view, the artist was an archaeologist of the TERRA INCOGNITA. He saw himself as a Mirandolan artist, that is, as SISNAV. Do not go looking for this word; you will not find it any dictionary. It is an invented word. There is no dictionary which covers Mirandola. I believe that SISNAV means something like attendant, someone who causes someone else to dream or to IMAGINE, someone who goes against the rules governing the one-way street, one who turns back. I have never been able to discover its exact meaning. He was ‘the pilgrim on the road to Brongsiwan’ – another name for Mirandola. At the time when there were still white areas on our map of the world, Mirandola was to be found – according to its own mythology – in the Pacific Ocean, which is also why he called it the Pacific Atlantis. After that it gradually disappeared, vanishing completely somewhere around
1714. It is impossible to fix its current location – if one seeks it on the horizontal plane. The master dedicated his whole life and work to the PRINCE OF MIRANDOLA. It was a kind of GAME, or RITUAL, perhaps it was even MAGIC. His artistic experiments belonged rather more to alchemy and not to the so-called natural sciences of today. Art like his knew nothing of targets or attempts at success, only ideals of the spirit and soul. For him these were: the JOURNEY TO BRONGSIWAN, perfection in the experience of the labyrinth, setting out to meet oneself in order to enable the vision: the VISION of the GOLDEN EGG.
I express myself poetically and in allegories. Because I do not wish to be one of those glib people who answer questions about the meaning of their utterances in this way: it means exactly what we have said! No, I want to divulge the meanings to you. I have time, in a manner of speaking, I make time for it.
One cannot avoid the question here of what art is.
I am far from thinking and believing that everything is art, or could be art. No, it is not like that. There has to be a way of verifying what art is, even if at the moment this is completely shrouded in general confusion.
I have found theoretical support in a succinct essay by Heidegger.
I give emphasis to two of his assertions: the work uses something other than itself to make itself known, it reveals something other than itself, it is allegory. In an artwork the crafted element is combined with something other
– bringing together in Greek is termed symbollein. The work is symbol.
Whether the internal artistic structures are based on some universal principle or other, or not, is open to debate.
Some people adhere to these supposed principles, conversely, others do not. I follow the lead of my master, who divided art up into two gigantic categories: the art of cosmic order and the art of chaos. The latter, in his eyes, was not art.
But Nietzsche’s words are also true: one has to have a great deal of chaos inside oneself in order to create a dancing star.
In what follows, it is not a question of comprehensive and definitive explanations, which are anyway of no use. I am simply concerned with a couple of elementary principles upon which my grammar is founded. I want to show you the context in which my pictures have meaning.
The word MIRANDOLAN is the term for a kind of art which one could call
IDEAL – paradigmatic would also not be wrong – a type of art which finds its perfect form in the IMAGINATION.
I do not want to set imagination in opposition to the term, REALITY, because for many people imagination, in a metaphorical sense, represents the highest form of reality, unchanging, timeless being. To equate it with reality also will not do, because for others again reality means the external world independent of consciousness or thought.
I think that every act of imagination is subject to the materialisation of an unequivocal degrading or deadening of its original perfect state, even to the point of total distortion. In order to avoid that, as far as is possible, the artist approaches his work with the greatest of care and in a chaste manner, which means that at the same time as giving it material form, he idealises the means available to him. This involves an extreme refinement, in all respects, of form, of drawing, of colour, of composition. He is required to integrate into himself all of the known forms of art to date and to be able to create and offer up material form from this internalised treasure trove at the right moment.
Conception, or IMAGINATION, was called the INNER STAR by Paracelsus. One employs the Inner Star in exactly the same way as any spiritual or psychic power.
First of all, one must align oneself with the power – this is the stage of PERFECTIO (perfecting), then activate the power – the stage of CONTEMPLATIO (contemplation), and finally integrate the power – this is the stage of LIBERTAS (freedom).
This is true freedom, the moment when one arrives at the INNER STAR. It is only from within this freedom that true creativity emerges. All the rest is mechanical repetition, in which kitsch – unusable for spirit and soul – is produced.
The forced striving to create something new, something untried or unusual at any price steers man away from the inner towards the outer, from where only mechanical imitation, in whatever form, can be experienced. It never brings one into authentic relationship with the true source of inspiration. In this sense authentic art never results from exertion; exertion does not admit of freedom.
NATURAL ART originates, in my view, only from the Inner Star. This art alone has a SOULFUL QUALITY.
By contacting the Inner Star one has the chance of seeing something other than what one has learned to see. It is like a revelation, or a vision.
In order to be able to see something new, one must first develop the ability to ‘step outside of oneself’. The Greek word for that is EXSTASIS. That sounds very shamanic. Do not worry, I do not want to convert you to shamanism, or train you to be a shaman. I only want to present to you the possibility of an opening out of the ego.
Where does one step outside to then? The difficulty associated with stepping outside lies in precisely this question. One enters unknown territory. It is an adventure. Of course, not everybody is willing to experience adventures, or at least, not this kind of adventure, not art. So the target group is much reduced by this. It was always thus. I do not expect anything of anyone. I just act according to the principle:
WHERE ONE MAN GOES, OTHERS CAN FOLLOW.
I RECOMMEND TO YOU THE JOURNEY.