What is art- John Graham



1.— What is art?

Art is essentially a process. A process of what?  A process of abstracting. What kind of a process? A creative process of abstracting. A writer abstracts his thoughts and experiences on a white sheet of paper, a musician abstracts the same phenomena into sounds and
a painter abstracts three-dimensional phenomena on a two-dimensional plane.

The manifestation of art consists of two elements: Subjective and Objective

A) Creation is the subjective element and has only two sources: a) thought (conscious and unconcious), b) emotion. The conscious mind is the clearing house for one’s instincts. Instincts report impressions to the conscious mind by way of the senses. Thought is the
generator and emotion is the medium of transmission.

B) Space is the objective element and is the basis of all the arts — music, painting, dancing, strategy, boxing or poetry. In music the domination of space is achieved by space-binding sounds, in dancing by space-binding gestures, in painting by space-binding form, in strategy by space-binding moves. A master boxer anticipates every blow from any direction and evades it by a hair’s breadth
because he contains in his mind, in himself, the exact evaluation of the space he operates in. He commands this space and this ability gives him a superiority over his adversary.

As a process — art is a creative operation of abstracting.
As material evidence — art is a consolidated accumulation of monuments to a given civilization.
Art in particular is a systematic confession of personality.
Art in general is a social manifestation.

 

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