The Subversion Of Art

The modernistic definition of art is that art is a mirror of our society. Society – and nowadays also the global world – should be reflected in art. It is considered its duty and its very purpose, together with the firm apprehension – typical of modernism – that through progress, art has developed this important role of giving a critical and different view of how to solve societies’ imperfections. This is totally false. The problem is that art is totally drained of its sacred content and divine purpose. Art is lying on its very deathbed and is waiting to receive the last rite.

Modern art portrays – at its best- the state our society is in – or “how it is” – with its problems and imperfections. If it is being portrayed with some kind of interpretation – which rarely happens – of what caused it, it is often being portrayed in an erroneous and corrupt way. Art has reached its lowest point when it is being used as a political instrument, a tool to shape and manipulate peoples’ thoughts and values, in order to control them. Socialistic propaganda preaching perverse doctrines like multi-culture, multiplicity and globalization, just to mention the latest events that are occurring nowadays. The subversion is horrendous.

To claim that a work of art is good because “it expresses our times” amounts to affirming that a phenomenon is good simply because it expresses something; in that case crime is good because it expresses a criminal tendency, an error is good because it expresses a lack of knowledge and so forth.1

Here are a number of ironic and humorous examples on modernistic staging of operas from a pamphlet with the title: “How to Opera Germanly” and it is written by a person working inside the music business. Since I also am involved with the world of classical music, I know that these observations are sadly true.

-The director is the most important personality involved in the production. His vision must supersede the needs of the composer, librettist singers and especially the audience, those overfed fools who want to be entertained and moved.

– Storytelling is anathema to the modern director, like realistic photographic painting is to the abstract painter.
Don’t tell the story, comment on it! Even better, UNDERMINE IT!

– Sexual scenes must be charmless and aggressive. Rolling on the floor a must here.

– Unmotivated homosexual behavior must be introduced a few times during the evening.

– Happy endings are intellectually bankrupt. Play the opposite. Insert a sudden murder if at all possible.

– Any suggestions of the beauty and mystery of nature must be avoided at all costs. The set must be trivial, contemporary and decrepit! Don’t forget the fluorescent lights.

– The chorus must be bald, sexless, faceless and in trench coats.

– Colors are culinary. Black, white and gray only!

– If the audience is bored, this is art.

I have seen Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” take place in a hairdresser’s salon, Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites” in an airport and Strindberg’s play “Playing with fire” in a big and empty wooden box! The reasons for this divergence from traditional staging are that “it has been done so many times before and I want to do something different, something new”, “set and beautiful costumes are only a distraction”, or even worse, “the audience of today cannot understand people of the eighteenth century”. I can hardly believe my ears! First of all, if an interpretation of a play or an opera has been a success artistically, why go for a version that is inferior than the former, just because it is old? Why this disrespect for the artists of old times? Sets and costumes carry important and vital information for the interpretation of a play or an opera and it is not what people look at for two and a half hours. Furthermore, since the beginning of human kind, the core of art has always been the fundamental questions of our existence and the ideals of a by-gone time, like for instance honour and fidelity – fidelity, as an example of being bound by an oath, which only death could dissolve – can always be understood – since we still have these concepts deeply buried inside of us – and could only inspire and also indicate that the concept of progress is absurd. The further away from the core of what art should and could be made of, the lower it will descend and one day soon, it will be forever gone. We have an important obligation to the next generation to preserve all sacred art. Turning everything upside down is just a poor excuse for the director to provoke and show off his or her inflated ego, which seems to be more important than the creator of the particular work in question.

  1. Frithjof Schuon, Language Of The Self, World Wisdombooks, inc, 1999. []
, by victor This entry was posted in Sacred Art. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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  • By Oskorei » Konstens kris on April 6, 2007 at 9:01 am

    […] Den moderna konsten är alltså inne på en väg som bara kan leda fel. Ett flertal konstnärsavantgarden insåg att konsten var i kris, och försökte under hela 1900-talet att lösa situationen (bland de mer intressanta fanns futuristerna, situationisterna och Ezra Pounds vorticister). Men trots sina insatser misslyckades de. Vi bör därför vända oss till traditionalismen för en förståelse av vad konst är, eller ska vara. Vi finner en sådan genomgång av traditionell konst på den traditionalistiska sidan Cakravartin, i artikeln The Subversion of Art. Artikeln beskriver den roll konsten haft i alla traditionella civilisationer, och den roll den fått i det moderna samhället (det kanske ska påpekas att man alltid är tvungen att generalisera. Ansatser till “modern” konst har funnits i traditionella samhällen, och traditionell konst finns i vårt samhälle). […]

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  • When therefore you seek to state or to conceive Him, put all else aside; abstracting all, keep solely to Him; do not look for something to add, rather you have probably not yet su!ciently abstracted from Him in your conception.


    - Plotinus