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статьиExpressionism: The aesthetics of marginal art in 20th century Russia

Лабас А.А. "Играет на пианино" 1921

Art asks about itself, it is freed from fear to look at itself, to see all that has become at the present time, and to hear its own voice. In order to return to the present reality, art must be emancipated from the fear of knowing itself. Culture approaches this state of being when it realizes that in celebrating holidays or singing anthems that commemorate victory, it puts itself at greater risk than when it suffers defeat or struggles with illness.

When the artist attempt to correct the picture of the world, he loses the ultimate basis for doing art. When art issues a call for society to “improve” or to make changes in the conventional system of values, it becomes politics, because it is addressing political consciousness and structuring itself as an arena for political dialogue. Whether this kind of art is aggressively opposed to the existing establishment or is eagerly fulfilling the expectations of the authorities, it is merely providing illustrations for the language of politics. But art and politics are different languages and different cultures.

The art culture that does this constructs a hierarchy of conventional values and false identities. It proclaims the supreme meaning of politically authoritative texts, and thereby secures its own safety, protects its history, and defends its interests in the marketplace. In such conditions, art culture cannot be, and does not wish to be, anything other than politics.

If this culture announces itself to be of historical value and identifies itself as a part of political culture, is it really able to make an inquiry that may lead to its defrocking? Is it really able to deconstruct the face that it puts forward as its identity, which deconstruction may possibly lead to its own destruction? No, it is not.

Such a culture avoids all inquiry, for it honestly believes that it already possesses the full range of necessary knowledge, definitions and positive answers to put together a clear and scientifically grounded picture of a world that is always easy to control.

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