There is one book to me, that has stayed above everything else that is written about being an artist.
Photo Tiina Hölli from the book's page
Agnes Martin : Hiljaisuus taloni lattialla
Vapaan Taidekoulun julkaisusarja
"Pohjois-amerikkalaisen nykytaiteen puheenvuoro"
Publisher : Vapaa Taidekoulu 1990, Finland.
Vapaa Taidekoulu - Free Art Scool in Helsinki was established in 1935 as an alternative to academic art schooling in Finland. Publications of the school have become legendary since the " publishing activities of the Free Art School were initiated in 1978, when the famous Interaction of Color by Josef Albers was translated into Finnish and published in cooperation with the artist. The enthusiasm and interest created by this book encouraged the school to continue as a publisher ", is told on the school's site.
This book is a unique compilation made in Free Art School Helsinki in the turn of a decade, when the decadence of the yuppie decade 80's was falling into the sudden and deep decadence of the depression decade of the 90's in Finland. This compilation was made by a Finnish editorial staff consisting of artist/lecturer/architect/writer/influencers ( Tor Arne - Carolus Enckell - Juhani Pallasmaa ) - an impressive anthology of the writings, hand written notes and public speeches of Canadian/American abstract painter Agnes Martin (1912-2004).
The book "Agnes Martin : Hiljaisuus taloni lattialla" includes a lot of previously unpublished material, and at that time, as the book and all the work for it was made before the digital age, the book conceals beautifully its aesthetical surprise and rewards readers even more today than it did in the 90's, I should think.
Lots of work was done by the Finnish editorial staff to gather this book from little hand written notes, transcribing videos et cetera. The book was unique worldwide. It is so cool to read from Acknowledgements that
" (...) Most of all we are grateful to Ms. Agnes Martin herself for her personal support and invaluable help during the preparation of this publication. "
Carolus Enckell writes about Agnes Martin in the foreword :
" (Agnes Martin) kuuluu siihen sukupolveen, joka teki toisen maailmansodan jälkeisen amerikkalaisen kuvataiteen maailmankuuluksi. Ominaista tälle sukupolvelle on ollut sankarillinen ja ihannoiva suhtautuminen taiteilijan kutsumukseen. Taideteos ei ole pelkästään osaamisen ja taiteellisen lahjakkuuden tuote, vaan ensisijaisesti todiste taiteilijan kehitysasteesta ihmisenä. Kun taiteellinen kehitys on sidoksissa ihmisen henkiseen kehitykseen, luomistyöstä tulee introspektiivistä toimintaa, jonka kautta taiteilijan oman olemassaolon merkitys paljastuu. Taiteen on oltava luonteeltaan ylevää. "
I will make an effort to translate the quote from Carolus Enckell's foreword in English, because here is the essence of why the content of this book is so dear to me too. Pardon me for shortcomings in interpreting :
" (Agnes Martin) belongs to the generation that made the post-war world American visual art famous. Characteristic of this generation has been a heroic and admiring attitude towards the artist's vocation. A work of art is not only the product of know-how and artistic talent, but primarily a proof of the artist's stage of development as a human being. When the artistic development is linked to the intellectual ( mental, spiritual, cognitive ) development of the human being, creative work becomes interactive, through which the significance of the artist's own existence is revealed. Art must be sublime in nature. "
The said depression in Finland in the 90's hit most of us pretty hard, and I was no exception. I was a technical student at the time. So it became the time for a change, I was thinking - once again.
How to live a good life ? I was calmly and very zen asking to myself in the midst of this mishmash. Yes sure ...
I started my art studies with taking several courses in 1996, 6 years after this book was published. Following year 1997 I got in a small art school in southern Finland called Pekka Halosen akatemia as a full-time preliminary student, and the following year 1998 I took the entrance examination and got in the basic level study program of 3 years to get a vocational degree.
After 3 years - that first year of courses, and then those my first two years of full-time preliminary general studies 1997-1999 there in art school, students were supposed to choose their niche. Aha.
So ... hmm.
Since 1999, with the wonderful 100 % backup from my professors Irma Tonteri and Pertti Summa, I attended both graphic arts and painting departments, because I could not decide. The result of this of course was, that I was totally confused which I still am, but in joy, and I don't give a shit about anything really, but one must ask, did I ever ?
As a conclusion, I made both, my basic level graduation work 2001 and 1,5 years later my second degree graduation work specialized in painting 2002, as an absurd structure and a form of an expanded diary. Both, my vast archiving project since 1996, and my painting graduation work, are part of an extremely fragile and sensitive conceptual time-space art project ... which is still going on ... and on ... and on ...
I have studied painting with Finnish painters Anna-Leena Vilhunen, Lotta Määttänen, Kaisu Aro, Pertti Summa and Matti Kurki. My first official full-time painting painting ( herself a true painter and taught us only painting ) professor in art school 1998-1999 was Lotta Määttänen (1968). Before that I had studied painting as part of general art studies. Lotta Määttänen was the one who gave me my two most valuable pieces of advice at that time : in the beginning she told us to read this book of Agnes Martin's writings, if we want to know what painting is, and in the end of the year, during the final face to face talk, she told me that always, always, always, I am to have lots and lots of empty supports prepared for painting, ready for me, all the time.
She was right of course, with both of her advice.
I had not heard of Agnes Martin before that. I borrowed the book from library, and later bought it to myself - and the price tag shows the date : January 24, 2002. It was the month when I had just started to seriously paint my ongoing series of square color studies called " 4 x 28 = 107 ".
Since then I have honed and polished and cleaned and cleared and
Nothing will remain.
Totally, absolutely, perfectly and concretely. - Nothing will remain. -
This is my Immaterial Art Conclusion so far.
All our endeavours as " abstract -directed " artists achieve a totally fresh
and " different " level of meaning, when contrasted with T H A T ( above described ) - Nothing will remain. -
( - and, I also am in a profound opinion ( and inner insight )
of the -value- of
setting my ( artistic ) actions in contrast with that ( above described ) ).
As an abstract painter - abstract to me is Immateriality.
This has led me into a Quest for Immateriality in Art.
A concept ?
To say one more : to be an "abstract-driven" artist ( to me ) does not mean unmeaningful (useless, worthless, for fun) working, but I take it most seriously as a way to BE.
It is not a Question of technique or -ism,
but a Quest of Immateriality in Art
- and can it be achieved.
My words left me bothered because of my lacking literary skills.
To be more clear ( trial # 1) :
each of us
( abstract-driven artists, especially,
but each human being individually, also )
should be / ought to be aware of The Fact,
what I do / make here -- W I L L -- .d.i.s.a.p.p.e.a.r.
--- I T I S --: N O T :-- MENT TO STAND STILL THRough TIMES ---
( no body is that special )
--> how does this affect me personally in my art (making) ?
--> time spend doing / making "my art" is more valuable
than the outcome.
The outcome is a side product. If it affects others, it proves something,
but not necessarily so. What happens to it, is not of such importance.
My process in me is the art / what is happening in me.
Its lasting effect on me.
There is no other measure.
Not money, not fame, not popularity.
Artists are in different phases in their inner roads.
To bash (abstract) art is like crushing seedlings in beginning.
Without being aware of the cornucopia of art, an artist cannot ever be sure, from where does her own imagery/(-ism) rise (it will always remain hidden/ a belief only, that inner certainty being not of true nature, but of possible, unaware imprinting etc. - because only with negating can one reduce into one true "self" (as an artist)/( to find the true core -to-be-able-to-be-the-channel-of-art /non-Ego )),
and if/when/as bashing a particular or several "-isms" (abstract or whatever) /( aspects of life ) a person does the most harm to oneself as an artist-to-be = bashing the only possibility to find out more, evolve.
Note : finding out thru negating resulting in reducing oneself is NOT same as bashing. Bashing is a reaction, whereas aware process of negating is action.
Note : negating is not active action, it is allowing reducing to happen in oneself as a natural change.
Onward, on the subject of negating in order to reduce. I must add, that there are some rare cases, when artists have truely been omnipotent and practiced a unique art practice thru decades remaining steady on their course, which was originally purely constructed out of their own true nature, right from the beginning. And still remain unique compared to dominant "reality".
However, and nevertheless, most of us mortals are influenced by the surrounding culture, and quite unaware of that affect on our "inner" art.
That is why ( I repeat ) it is the most foolish thing to do to bash an art form ( because bashing it in the world means bashing it in the inner world means bashing a possibility from oneself to grow as a human being ). I say with bias : especially to bash abstract art, which ( to me) is my reduced art form - so ( to me ) it is the purest form of art ( so far ). : D
Abstract and expression are essential.
Nothing is more important.
Tate's glossary of art items
/ abstract art
/ abstract expressionism
I recommended further reading from
Maria Popova's Brain Pickings :
The Reconstructionists - Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin on Art, Happiness, Pride, and Failure:
A Rare Vintage Interview with the Reclusive Artist
35 Odd Jobs Celebrated Painter Agnes Martin Held
Before She Became an Artist
Artist Agnes Martin on Inspiration, Interruptions,
Cultivating a Creative Atmosphere,
and the Only Type of Person You Should Allow Into Your Studio
Beloved Artist Agnes Martin on Our Greatest Obstacle to Happiness
and How to Transcend It
Written & Published by © 2016 Tiina Hölli 11.03.2016 23:40 - edited much 13.3.2016 09:45
- Collection -
Being Nothing -
... says she
doesn't give a shit,
[ paskat nakkaa ]
but still thinks amazingly much about
and Being ...
... has some Knowledge
and / or vice versa.
[ Loves Immaterial ]
F . A . Q . : W T F
- Collection -
is a selection of
artists and phenomenons
that she likes.
- Collection -
also in beBee publisher
WORKS FOR SALE :
© 2017 Tiina Hölli. All rights reserved.
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- shhh-code171117 -
ha ! you found this ! here