Leggere in italiano - Manifesto del Neomodernismo
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ET IN ARCADIA EGO (AWAY FROM THE FLOCK)
Away from the Flock, 1994
To quote Damien Hirst “If you can ‘do’ the art world at 32, it means that there is something wrong with the art world, not that you are a genius”. André Durand saw Away from the Flock
once, in the Serpentine Gallery the same day another visitor poured ink
into the formaldehyde. The thought of a black sheep triggered his
imagination – a blackened, dead, Postmodern lamb. So often a victim in
European art, the lamb suddenly became a symbol for art itself; the
aquarium a tomb. For Durand, Hirst’s pickled sheep swiftly emerged as an
apt symbol of how far art had gone astray.
Neomodernism is a new movement in art. Neomodernism is a
philosophy of art, a way of looking and seeing that creates personal
relationships with works of art from the 5th century BC to modern times.
Neomodernism acknowledges the primacy of the Hegelian Idea,
upholds both figuration and abstraction, and resists the traditional
distinction between old master and modernist works of art.
Jan van Eyck
The Ghent Altarpiece (detail):
Adoration of the Lamb 1425-29
Cathedral of St Bavo, Ghent
Although political correctness has wrought havoc with many
traditional symbols of European art, the lamb, a revered and ancient
symbol, has fared far better than most. Early Christians adopted the
lamb, a sacrificial animal of the Old Law, to represent a triune
innocence of gentleness, purity and self-sacrifice that would challenge
sorcery and defeat paganism: when the lamb bleeds into a chalice, it
represents Christ’s sacrifice; when it carries a banner, it becomes a
symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
Indeed, the lamb in painting has experienced a mystical
re-birth in a picture by André Durand which reflects upon Damien Hirst’s
Away from the Flock, a Postmodern work that has achieved iconic status
as a symbol of Britart. In Durand’s picture Away from the Flock, the lamb symbolises art that has gone astray.
Durand’s Away from the Flock/Et In Arcadia Egois
an emblematic ‘Neomodern’ picture, extending the dialectical movement
from so-called high art to Postmodernism and beyond. Neomodernism
restores the traditional and eternal values of art while contemplating
the essence and potential of the present.
Et in Arcadia Ego, 1640
Away from the Flock/Et In Arcadia Ego, with its traditional painterly values, is an epiphany of the Hegelian Idea,
eloquently manifest in the nude shepherd. Durand’s four shepherds
refuse to tend Damien Hirst’s sheep: Postmodernism is dead, yet Durand
possesses the talent and humility to recognise and acknowledge the
primacy of the Idea in art. Durand has entombed Hirst’s Away from the Flock
in a Neomodernist arcadia. Spirituality and beauty in painting have
been resurrected. The Ilissos-like shepherd’s self-contained beauty
dominates the composition, and links the picture’s iconography to
Ilissos, the Acropolis
Athens, Greece, about 438-432 BC
British Museum, London
Like Henry Moore, Durand has spent many hours in the
British Museum contemplating and drawing that indisputably great piece
of sculpture, the Ilissos from the east pediment of the Parthenon, which
represents a formal discovery as valid as the formulation of a
philosophic truth (Kenneth Clark The Nude, A Study in Ideal Form,
Pantheon Books, 1953). We understand why the artisans who painted the
Greek sculptures were often paid higher wages than the sculptors when we
study the way Durand has rendered in oil on linen the luminous flesh
tones of his shepherd. Here we are confronted with a nude on a par with
its predecessors – a self-assured Ilissos reborn, greeting the 21st century, and signalling a new direction in the history of art : Neomodernism.
Armando Bayraktari, 2000
Neomodern Manifesto posits criteria for a revitalised approach to works of art
founded on history, traditional artistic disciplines, theology and philosophy.
Neomodernism views art as an act of expression of the sublime; in Neomodern painting
as a representation of the visual appearance of things with correspondence to
the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and good. Neomodern
works of art via mimesis interpret and present the universe and man’s existence, in line with the
belief that the reality we live is but a mirror of another universe that can
only be accessed through inspiration and imagination.
Neomodern criteria are illustrated below by Durand’s pictures unless otherwise indicated.
ST VERONICA (detail)
A Neomodernist picture manifests the Idea in the Hegelian sense meaning the Absolute, the spiritual presence in a work of art.
DEATH OF ADONIS (detail)
A Neomodernist picture has links to the works of art that preceded it and or antiquity.
PADRE VITTORINO (detail)
A Neomodernist picture concentrates the soul in the eye.
ET IN ARCADIA EGO / AWAY FROM THE FLOCK (detail)
The nude or the symbol of the nude is the basis of a Neomodernist picture.
AT THE HOLY DOOR (detail)
Every element in a Neomodernist picture is justified in terms of the whole composition.
MYSTIC LAMB (detail)
A Neomodernist approach to religious subject matter is detached and philosophical, never an affirmation of faith.
GIORDANO BRUNO BURNING (detail)
A Neomodernist treatment of political or historical subject matter is detached and philosophical – never propaganda.
A Neomodernist artist must have sound drawing abilities and a command of the other traditional academic disciplines, such as perspective.
SOLOMON, SHEBA & MENELIK
Polesdon Lacey, Sussex (detail)
A Neomodernist work of art is emblematic rather than psychological.
BACON’S SELF PORTRAIT AS INNOCENT X
WITH JOHN PAUL II IN THE STYLE OF DURAND (detail)
A Neomodernist figurative or abstract picture has Albertian depth, space and light, never stressing the flatness of the canvas surface but exploring its limitless depths.
Piero della Francesca
The Flagellation, c. 1455
Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino
A Neomodernist picture presents scientific principles aesthetically.
A Neomodernist work of art heightens the sense of newness, regardless of when it was made.
THE COMMUNION OF MOTHER TERESA (detail)
A Neomodernist work of art is tactile.
JOHN PAUL II (detail)
Simplicity of form is Neomodernist.
Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2), 1912
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
A Neomodernist work of art has movement and stillness simultaneously.
Armando Bayraktari (Alemdar)
Both figurative and abstract Neomodernist pictures pronounce “painterly” values.
Neomodernism precedes and supersedes post-modernism.
Armando Bayraktari, André Durand, Scott Norwood-Witts 2000
Kingston University, London