Over the weekend I was reading an art history book about changes in styles, design and movement both artistically and politically in the 1890’s through 1920. The big antithesis statement was against the old customary traditions and beliefs in architecture, painting, glass, extending into jewelry, utensils, and furniture, which lengthened its tendrils into the social network of organizations and politics. This trend was in emotional opposition to industrial influence in life, economics, politics and especially ‘art’, compounded with the anti-aristocracy philosophy. The objection, the economic supremacy of industry in all areas of life, was winding its way into the daily routine of the working man; IE, lifestyle, working conditions, home life. Stylistically this influenced the Symbolism movement which draped paintings with emotional complexity delineating the subject with an entirely loose yet compellingly bold line in tandem with color. Thus Art Nouveau was born and Gustav Klimt was able to shine.
Move ahead a hundred years plus. Industrialization has moved into high technological innovations. The work force has continued to be compressed into tiny cubicles and music and art have been hijacked from our inventories. Ironically some of the same issues the free spirits, dissenters and artists were protesting are similar today. The industrial complex has moved into BigPharma, BigAgribusiness, BigPolitics, Big Chemical, Big World Bank, Big Military Complex, Big Corporations. And the truth is whether we choose to focus on the impact of the bigger conspiracy, it is still the reality.
“You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality” Ayn Rand
Taking this from a different angle, how would the Symbolism artists feel dealing with the overwhelming influence of technology in our lives today with computers doing a substantive amount of the artistry? I feel besides selling our souls to the devil, they would believe we have gone way beyond our capacity to ‘feel’ and be emotionally available to sensual delights, relationships and our connection with what is vitally important; we’re too seduced by instant gratification and external riches. I’d love to see what Klimt would create on canvas today to depict his emotional (dis)connection to the world before him; wouldn’t that be a colorful immersion into vibrancy? Ooooh baby! Or would he explore his darker deeper depths and use color to distort and distract the viewer with sinister implications?
The greater question is, have we really changed that much over the last one hundred and twenty years? Yes of course we have progressed technologically more in the last one hundred years then the previous 2000, however, have we grown as human beings? Do we treat our neighbors more gently and lovingly? Do we go out of our way for a stranger to give them a lending hand?Are our issues much different when we clear away the baggage and clutter of technology?
Humanity has grown and expanded – absolutely, though I do feel we have a long way to go yet when it comes to being a Gandhi of the world. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe we have the opportunity to do more with our individual lives by *being more emotionally honest, *speaking our personal truth to those who need to hear it most, *be creatively available to the daily process of life, *find beauty on the inside allowing the outside reflection to be apparent. Add this to perception, focus and attention. We have to be actively involved with the world around us to change our circumstances.The process has to begin with ourselves first for our personal Klimt to emerge in the outside world.
My invitation; be more colorfully vibrant with your words, actions and thoughts activating your inner artistic expression and an open connection to your personal relationships. Far too many people never tell their loved ones vital truths which in turn would allow everyone to grow exponentially. Paint your daily life with strict focus on the positive attributes of your personality, letting it shine forth for all to enjoy. Make your life upfront, bold and emotionally available in honest and direct and loving ways. You will never regret immersing yourself in the luxurious emotional glittering expansion of your humanity. It’s a blessing.
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about” Albert Einstein
Be wise; pay attention to what is being presented and what is NOT being spoken. This is true for your personal world as well as the bigger picture. If we are truly going to make this leap into a greater consciousness of 2012 and beyond, we have to be willing and active participants.
And if you have the opportunity to see a Gustav Klimt exhibit, expand your knowledge and artistic depth by delving into his creative genius; you’ll enjoy every delightful, colorful stroke of paint.
Cosmic sunshine to you.