Ě. Ę. Kantor. Perspectives of the Avant-Garde

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You think what you see on the canvas was put there on accident? Not at all, it was put there on purpose.

There is a global contradiction in the history of mankind – a contradiction that a sound mind cannot grasp: why is it that when modern science was in its infancy, artists painted the world in detail, but when scientific progress reached new heights, artists returned to depicting the world in blots like in the Stone Age? Why does mankind’s knowledge develop inversely proportional to its self-awareness? We know how a person in the 15th century looked – there are hundreds of thousands of portraits. But we do not know how the 21st century person looks – instead of an image the artist has left us with an inkblot. Nobody will deny that civilization is developing for the better: we have cured diseases, life expectancy has increased. But is the lack of self-awareness necessary for progress? We assure ourselves: contemporary savagery is ostentatious, it was invented for fun, to set off progress.

The raw and cooked – as expressed by Lévi-Strauss- can be applied to modern culture carefully preparing a dish that mimics raw food. The best chefs’ art is to create the illusion of the natural, anundisturbed kitchen product.

Culture requires novelties; an apple from the tree of knowledge is required to look fresh. The imitation of primacy is a necessary condition of the market. However, today's "raw" is not a fresh product. Today's "raw" in culture is not the product of a naive

soul nor evident of sincerity. And vice versa. "Rawness" in culture is prepared subtly and indicative of civilization’s jaded interests, an exquisite taste that has unprecedented hunger. So there was a kind of artificial savagery, a raw "second freshness". The new savagery was cultivated to give a zing to civilization.

The glory of Western civilization in its unswerving youth: like Aphrodite,

innocently emerging from the sea foam every day, has not been felt (or pretended not to be felt) by Western Civilization for many years. War victims, history, experience, everything – does not count. Western civilization cannot afford to grow old. Let the backward ethnic groups live the ancient traditions, but the civilization of the West carries out hundreds of cosmetic procedures: festivals, forums, exhibitions, all to maintain its eternal youth. Civilization is young, and therefore, culture should also be young forever. The tail tradition is discarded; archivists are engaged with traditions while the young culture is moving forward.

The modern world’s catchword is "relevance." This catchword is repeated by curators, columnists, showmen, artists, and innovators. You like actual art? Well, come on, we are for progress! The term "relevance" can be misleading. Someone else decides which figures of the art world are relevant to political developments, looking for the answer to the topic of the day. The world is shaken by hungry rebellions, war breaks out, but it is not considered to be "relevant". The political component is long gone from modern art: the engagement seen in works of Sartre or Goya today is out of favor, no one is concerned about suffering. There is no current relevancy at all in it; for Western culture to actually be eternally young, and therefore that which is relevant is vital. The urgency is in eternal vivacity, the eternal innocence of Aphrodite; the virgin feeling of waking up every morning to something new and relevant while no one knows what happened last night.

In this way, the "raw" is always in high demand by culture, which for so long had only been fed the "cooked."

Is it possible to create a cultural "rawness"? Lévi-Strauss never put asked such a question, but this is an important question to Christian culture today. Christian civilization cannot always agree with itself: civilization needs the "raw" and natural to maintain its health, but is the "raw" necessary for Christian civilization? Put another way: is it possible for post-Christian paganism, can Christian Civilization exist by itself without the traditions of Christianity? And what will art become in this civilization?


In fact, an answer has already been voiced; it is just unknown whether to believe that artists today produce art or is it a fundamentally new occupation. Other functions have disappeared after losing their relevance, take chimney sweepers for example; Painters will soon arrive at the same fate. Art of the West dates back to pre-Christian aesthetics and painting is not necessary. Modern art museums are looking for new means of expression; tradition is interrupted. Michelangelo studied under Ghirlandaio, Rubens followed Michelangelo, Delacroix followed Rubens – the link between generations was evident. The son took over the skills of his father, but at some point the son suddenly refused the inheritance.

The West’s visual art history has reached the end of the road which seems ridiculous: after centuries of efforts art has returned to its original starting point, to paganistic ways. But what can the artist be called? We do not know. Is he an artist? Does he follow in the footsteps of Leonardo?

The ancient world practically did not know perspectives, it was all on the foreground made of primary colors. The ancient ways exist on the squares and on the friezes of temple. Subjects are all created on the same plane, it is impossible to see who is behind or in front of who. The Middle Ages built the visible world in the reverse perspective, establishing a hierarchy of values from the mountain to the world- in this extent, the consciousness of the artist grew. Then the icons’ reverse perspective changed to paintings with linear perspectives – a consequence of the Renaissance philosophy; this happened because the vanishing point was made by man instead of God. The dimensions of everyday life appeared full-fledged when using this inverse perspective, but did not become less complicated as a result. Simply the heavenly hierarchy had been replaced by a hierarchy of earth, but the latter lined up no less carefully. This accuracy of climbing the stairs, the hierarchy of knowledge and understanding of the sequence is all part of the West’s visual art history.

Leonardo da Vinci often said "Modeling is the very soul of painting." In his mind, working with tones, shades and nuances of color, that is, that kind of work with color creates the spatial characteristics of the subject. Drama of personality happens in the collision with the material; an ontological being of the subject can realize its relation to other objects and the air surrounding them; the gap between the two objects is no less interesting and important than the objects themselves – such a thought lay in the Renaissance aesthetics. That was a consistent assertion of ontology. Step by step, moving toward the horizon, the Western aesthetics gained a meaningful existence through perspective. The infinite length of the space of the Renaissance and Baroque are metaphors of Western history. Complicating local color (i.e. modeling by Leonardo), immersing the object in the environment, the Renaissance artist (and behind him the Baroque master) was doing exactly the same as Shakespeare did with his characters, bringing his protagonists into conflict with time. The West moved on from medieval geometrical forms and the linear movement of Gothic aesthetics to the multidimensional space. The observation of the world became more complicated, da Vinci’s sfumato, Uccello’s diversity, the tenebrozo (chiaroscuro) of the Baroque era, the color tones of the 19th century – these represent an urgent need to create a complicated relationship with the space of the subject, aware of its existence in relation to the others. Through modeling, Leonardo kind of weighed each individual item in relation to the duration of life of everything else. We can say that the art of the Western world evolved, clarifying a personal relationship to the big picture.

This is the school of Western painting, where visuals are inextricably linked with pro-Western philosophy and religion. It cannot be otherwise: the idea (as we know from Plato) is looking for itself through the form. When the Christian belief of the spirit’s incarnation is with merged with the Platonic position, imagine that the visual arts developed separately from the philosopher. It would be wrong to consider the medieval arts outside of the conciliar debates, outside the controversy of Duns Scotus and Aquinas, Bonaventure, Albert the Great, William of Ockham. This statement is obvious, but it is not a sin to repeat the differences between Cimabue and Masaccio, Mantegna and della Francesca, the Florentine school and Ferrara, differences that are captured by the eye (if looking meticulously) due to the difference of concepts and worldviews. No one dares assert that Ockham and Aquinas thought the same about the world – they are clearly stated opposite views. Similarly, in the fine arts any real master joined in the dispute about history. In fact, the entire history of art is a never-ending dialogue about history.

More surprising is that today Western art has abandoned perspectives all together and the long debate was interrupted in mid-sentence. Imagine the "Feast" dialogue being concluded immediately after Aristophanes’ speech, even before Agathon and Socrates began talking. We will never know what Eros holds as good and what is good. A simple statement of what happened in the history of art sounds ridiculous: how is it that perspectives were abandoned? And the anthropomorphic image? Civilization cannot reject itself, the story cannot be undone. However, this is what happened. Declarations (first declared, then denied, then declared again them) about the "end of history" in the visual arts simultaneous occurred with a return to the first plan of only the only image’s plain content. History ceased to be and space immediately flattened. The object defeated space, rejected distance, canceled out the existence of another object.

We can say that the art of "first plan" unites modern aesthetics and aesthetics of the ancients, but is limited to the loss of perspective. Moreover, the ancients kept looking and looking for perspective: according to legend, the contest of Apelles and Protogenes spawned perspective (Protogenes drew a red line on a wall in Apelles’ home, showing that he was there, and Apelles drew a parallel brown line, visually removed from the red one, showing he was not actually in the house), but through the efforts of dozens of clubs and schools 20th century the discovery of Apelles has now proved useless. Perspective is no longer needed. What else can society strive for we everything is already here? Art of the Western World no longer questions the dimensions of everyday life, of ontological space; thus it is gone from the image of that was created and woven within the environment and contrary to the protection environment. The ancient world, after it all development of fine arts, went from the sign to the form; modern art of the West has returned to the sign that doesn’t know doubt and references, to the sign that rejects the form’s hierarchy.


The subject of the first plan – the inverted perspective to the one-point perspective – the return to the first plan; this dynamic shows the evolution of Western culture as a whole. If perspective is a reflection of the hierarchy of value, then the modern aesthetic reduces hierarchy to a simple scheme, probably, having left just the most important details. If perspective is a metaphor of history, then modern art stops history, arguing that it has reached the pinnacle of development. Despite the fact that the modern aesthetic is well informed of the complexity of the world, but announce simplification as a priority. Of course, the simplification is a sham; it is just a game in juvenility: humanity is not given back his childhood, while the ostentatious adolescence is just a disguised aging. The development of science and sophistication of knowledge occurred in parallel with the simplification of the art, where the space around the image is compressed and finally flattened.

The arts might be offensive to the historian, but this is a fact: the centuries-long tradition of sophistication was abandoned for a spontaneous simplicity; carefully "cooked" "raw" became the result of a gradual return to vital paganism.

In civilization, which continues to name itself a "Christian civilization," there is a need to reduce the meaning of Christianity for survival of the Western civilization – for its, so to say, competitiveness.

The fact that Christianity is a ballast throws up warning signs. Nietzsche, for example, talked about this extensively. However the urgent need to reduce the missionary theme in culture originated after the war, when there was a need for decolonization. The artificial paganism and new dictatorship has selected role civilization in relation to the onetime colonies. Once the savages tried to learn the handicrafts and arts, it showed them that it is better to not be savages and not practice cannibalism; they even tried to produce drawings, were fed boiled meat, treated medically, although they were mostly used as medical experiments. At that time western art was didactic: the image and ideal were obliged to educate the savage. Then there was a time of simple and distinct relationships with colonies which eventually changed. The aesthetic code of the slave owning society changed. Now this society is democratic, and its art is the same; this art is of the equal, which includes equal savages.

An important task was solved: searching for an accurate intonation in dialogue with the Third World, who we declared its equal, although no one ever had this equality in mind. Before people of the West unapologetically used savages, while the new ideology required colonized lands equal rights. It was possible to expect that savages were brought to civilization, however the border with the Third World was masked differently: Westerners pretended to be savages themselves and thus outlived the complex of shame in relation to the disadvantaged and solved the problem of teaching the illiterate. The problem of a different "raw", which must be respected even in relation to his "cook", was decided radically: People of the West created post-factum their own ethnic crafts, which they presented to the world as authentic. First, the West’s past was measured by the excavations of Ancient Rome, by ancient graves, but in hindsight we added on the pristine wildness, which Rome itself had dropped. This filled out the pagan past, this artificial savagery liquidated the necessary empathy for the Third World, allotted compassion towards the savages, compulsory education. Why should Westerners be moved by different primeval feelings, if they have a distinctive stone age that was no less primitive? The burden of whites was okay when it was allowed to beat natives with their feet, but if it is required to give up your seat to a native in the train, then what the hell is the burden of the whites? The artificial savagery relieved Christian civilization from unfavorable missionary roles of today – the responsibility in front of "little ones" only interferes: we have nothing to teach savages, so we compete with them in the wilderness. Why? to just feel sentiments towards the debased? Once Brecht darkly joked, saying that the very best thing to do with the civilian population is to dump it to the rear of the enemy so that the enemies themselves have to deal with it; exactly the same logic prevailed in relation to the savages.

Instead of training the savages and bearing the burden of care, it’s easier to convert the current population into savages, and let these savages agree among themselves. To the modern artist of the West it is easier to find common views with Native Americans and native Polynesians than with Michelangelo. But this is in no way means that the western banker considers himself relatives to a native leader. Here he is just what his direct bloodline from Midas, Jacques Coeur, and Jakob Fugger did not interrupt.

Of course, savagery of a new pattern, third-wave fauve, has not affected its destructive force working in diamond mines, oil fields and banks. The imitation of savagery in culture did not have any effect on financial capitalism; money is continued to be printed, and the colonial administration continues to rule it, as it should. It was necessary to reduce – among new geopolitical conceptions – the didactic role of art, remove the anthropomorphic image, pretend to be wilder, but this still had no effect on the ruling class

It is true that in rooms of luxurious houses, where before hung portraits of forefathers, there are now pictures of obscure characters – squiggles, squares, stripes. No, you are not visiting an Iroquois, you are no in the Aztec’s realm, you are in the living room of western bourgeois, who today pretends that he feels as primitive as the Iroquois. But he by no means has forgotten his advantages of the Iroquois.

They explain to you that the presence of pagan motifs testifies to the secularization of historical consciousness. They withdrew the anthropomorphic image and Christian didacticism: this does not pass over the developments; the facial image left art – instead of people they depict an impulse. "Not everyone will be taken into the future" – this is the favorite slogan of 20th century artists. Christ, for example, believe that everyone is taken into eternal life, but at this point, modern civilization tends to stick to a realistic view of things: in the present not everyone is accepted and in the future not everyone is taken. First, Christian pattern is removed from the future. However much Christian civilization remained in the absence of an image, only time will tell, but today we can say is that Western aesthetics needed to become a pagan to be successful.

The transformation of artists to new savages benefits society but for a different reason – art thus steps back to the periphery of public life, it does not take part in decisions of social problems. To manage a savage is much easier, we just have to give them the opportunity to "express themselves." These days using this bait, like fake pearls, fools the majority of those who call themselves the avant-garde: we are allowed to dance naked, we can defecate in museums, we throw excrement on ourselves, therefore, we are free. But actually everything is the other way around: this evidence shows that we are prisoners and we should not be allowed to think of the big picture. You are expelled from politics, no one asks you about the world, you have nothing to say about belief, you have no voice, when a speech is given about knowledge, you think how you can express yourself when you are galloping around naked. No, you express emptiness and slavery

The third aspect of the problem of comfortable savagery: the new cultivated savagery is a vaccine against revolution. Western aesthetic consciously vaccinated itself with barbarity in order to avoid revolution, that is, that great "barbarism", which civilization has always feared. To extend the Christian didactic was reckless: who knows where it will lead? But paganism guarantees peace. No kind of social change aimed at improving the position of the humilated, sympathy is not found in those who are allowed to clown around. Why help the disadvantaged? "Look upon me," – says the new holier-than-thou savage – "I freely "express myself," no one suppresses me; Let those, the so-called poor, also express themselves – protest, rattle in. You want equality? We dance! We have freedom!"

The vaccine of protest, the artificially implantation of minimal protest into society, reduced socialism to an affectation and ideally is in agreement with a new type of oppression. The clown dancing in the woman’s dress, the fool defecating in the museum – what kind of relation does this have to millions of hungry? But you will understand that savage antics have a concentration of freedom, which means that our society is not bad. What kind of oppression is there to talk about if a clown freely puts on airs? The use of artificially embedded paganism is enormous and the costs are minimal. Applying Christian didactics made sense for the triumph of civilization. We become wild to move towards progress.


At this point it is temping to consider the reduction of Christian principles in Western art as a trend, fully embellished in the Renaissance. Using the term "paganism," you will inevitably recall another – "rebirth." It is tempting to say that the reverse movement to ancient times started long ago, that this movement in the opposite direction is inherent in Western civilization. Departing from paganism, culture each time returned to paganism, from the newly acquired back to the roots.

Yes, the Christian civilization is in need of support from pagan roots, no one denies this.

The Christian image is fragile, vulnerable, and doomed to martyrdom. When culture turns back, it searches for vital strength. In this way "actual" (eternally young) almost inevitably signifies "pagan." The sample and reference point, inspired by Winckelmann and Lessing in the 19th century, Mirandol and Ficino in the 14th century, is likely to inspire the innovator and the present day curator. It is not possible to say the term "pagan," but the deification of youth and strength is no different.

The Renaissance of the 13th-15th centuries is considered by many historians as a conscious evocation of ancient aesthetics and contrasting the pagan beauty of Christian asceticism. You can easily build the argument include the mandatory movement back to the rooms and the modern installation into the context.

The actions of innovators today is reminiscent of pagan rituals (that is, museums of modern art evoke burial mounds and pagan kings and collections of curators and adepts like funeral rituals), but the paradoxical "neo-paganism" was created for Orthodox civilization which calls itself Christian. We unwittingly remember Egyptian, Greek, or Polynesian rituals, looking past modern culture, but for pity's sake, weren’t Greek and Roman cultures not where Christianity rose?

An old naked man runs the halls of a museum with a gas torch tied to his penis; a nude woman beats her entire body off the walls of an exhibition hall; food, laid out in a bowl, rots under the gaze of an audience; a newborn chicken is dying, having been placed under a red-hot bulb – these are not rituals of natives of the Bororo tribe, this is a refined (sophisticated) discourse of modern culture. So now they do it on purpose. Plans for tying a gas torch to the penis are scrupulously mulled over as much as the complex compositions of the Sistine Chapel.

The authors of the new discourse say that to repeat the accomplishments of eras means to demonstrate a weariness of civilization, a step backwards. Civilization needs a young head for a successful competition in the historical race, and by galvanizing civilization, we carry out similar actions. Was Michelangelo not a Florentine who revived the Christian holy power, did he not let in pagan athleticism into the Christian paradigm? Today’s aesthetic shows us that the new vitality has the same foundation as the Renaissance

If the average person is troubled by disgraces of innovators, they are told that frescoes in chapels already exist (why repeat?), while a gas torch tied to a penis is an unprecedented statement, that the spirit had not yet expressed itself. The average man can complain to the exclusive secondary of any hooligan: ignorance and vulgarity are the same in all ages . But what, if the torch is on the penis is a symbol of a new mentality, like Prometheus’ fire?

At one time the lower class did not understand Van Gogh, today the common man does not understand the person with a blow torch on his penis. However, commoners decry not only Van Gogh, they condemn any domestic alcoholic, thief or bully. Yet the owner of the gas burner did not associate themselves with domestic offenders, but with Van Gogh or Michelangelo. Innovators of today shock (so they think) crowds just like the novel creators of the Renaissance and the "cursed" artists of modern times.

The commoner asks: but why consider paganism ideal? Was the Christian ideal worse? The correct answer was given long ago, the commoner simply did not want to hear the correct answer: returning to paganism is necessary to leave the historical dead-end. Tangible victory can be achieved only through paganism, while the victory that can produce a Christian world view and civilization is not enough. For Western Christian Civilization to be invisible, the Pagan power of past centuries is needed, a return to the roots must happen. In this way, whoever returns to the past is considered the avant-garde.


The avant-garde in art is called the movement away from the Christian paradigm – back to the Pagan roots. We do not count Thomas Aquinas amongst the avant-garde, who reaffirmed his faith through knowledge, nor Andrea Mantegna, who fought for the Christian canon in spite of ancient sculpture, and none of the fathers of the church, and neoplatonist philosophers, and Rembrant and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, painters of the Madonna. And Chagall or even Picasso is among the avant-garde. The avant-garde will always be those who put a question mark over the rationality of life and faith. Our modern culture is called avant-garde because the Christian paradigm is abolished: for centuries art of the Western world was evolving towards the "impersonal sign – spiritual way," but one day the vector was changed; the avant-garde did this. Once the embodiment of the image was justified theoretically, the process of disembodiment happened according to the same theory. Disincarnation was fought for a long time, treaties written how "God is not cast down," proved that this was a historical necessity.

It is odd that Malevich, the most ardent atheist and pagan, was called a spiritual artist, while his squares bestowed a sacreligious element. As a matter of fact, Suprematism was completely analogous with national-socialism, although this cruel program is widely perceived as a manifesto of humanism. The avant-garde – this is good, right? One of the many followers of the superhuman Malevich, the naïve artist Edward Steinberg, repeated Malevich, drawing squares, and was thus a devout Christian believer – he was convinced that he was drawing spiritual beings. If Steinberg was asked why he didn’t draw people’s faces, he would say that the emanation of the soul appear in squares and so on. Similar aberrations of the consciousness are characteristic of our time: we accept every protest for the humane, even if the protest is against humanism. This almost mystical cult of the new, subversive canon, a new cruel and empty one, replaced knowledge and faith – and a pagan rite was announced as the new spirituality.

Kandinsky named his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, however this does not

mean that the master though of the Spiritual in the sense of Saint Augustine, and in principle differed the City of God from the Castle of the Earth. Here we are talking about a different kind of spirituality.

In the argument of the private versus the public (it turned out the more public were certainly Totalitarian), factories were not only privatized – in this fight the collective conscience was shut down, above all history and religion were privatized. Privatized history – this is paganism. Privatized religion was expressed in the form of hundreds of sects; the everyday man received the opportunity to avoid the determinism of faith and the immutability of the commandments for private housing: in his possession appeared a privatized spiritual comfort based on the right of property.

Privatized spirituality showed itself through abstraction; the soul was interpreted as an abstraction, which is absurd. The soul is the most certain of all possible phenomenon because there is no spirituality at all. But they wanted to recite the concept of "spirituality" – like a smoke, like an apple, like an abstraction. "Man is no abstract being" says Dr. Rieux in Camus’ The Plague. It is possible to add to this: God – even more so. However the formula of private freedom forces us to see God and man as an abstraction. Not a strict image of the Savior, not imputed rules, but an abstract spirituality printed for hundreds of home users, like stocks. This is its own spiritual indulgences so that commoners are not suspected of material interest. Do you suppose that I only am talking about margins? But here, pay attention, I am disposed towards the spiritual. No one ever will be able to decrypt the spiritual message. The privatized spirituality created an illegible message of God; it was postulated that the Spirit says something to everyone and assures personal rights.

Malevich’s Squares, replacing the "Savior with an Angry Eye" icon – this not jus an angry message but a meaningless one; From now on iconography of Christian Civilization copied the iconostasis. Modern fine art does not know certain observations – concrete plans were delegated by bankers and generals. In front of museum visitors opened vital force, and the elements, the phenomena of the primary elements of the universe, as is typical, for example, by Boyce’s creativity. This was a conscious step. What Khlebnikov once expressed with" Perun angrily pushed Christ aside," then Malevich proclaimed the article "God is not cast down" that Klee defined as the need to "get back on the crown of the tree to its roots", embodied at the level of the aesthetic criterion, more precisely, it abolished all the criteria.

Categorical thinking in aesthetics does not exist anymore, since there is no general category of beauty; Beauty is no longer defined itself through the good, while the common good was driven away. But in the absence of the general category came a host of self-sufficient and independent of the spiritual truths; so faith in tribalism changed the aesthetics of the West.

When the art historian, having studied the legacies of the 19th century ,try to talk with the curator of contemporary exhibitions, it turns out that there is no common conceptual vocabulary if these people are engaged in different disciplines. They waited for changes in the aesthetic paradigm: at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, the feeling of a dead end in Christian civilization. Everyone spewed "they will drop from the ship of modernity" but the scale of change has been difficult to imagine.


The phrase "historical dead end" is said so often that lost its meaning; Meanwhile, to understand what is a "historical dead end" is easy today. Today, just like a hundred years ago, society is coming to a point of no moral statutes that do not mean anything; didactics do not correspond to practice. Just like before: the redistribution of colonies, famine, the gap between rich and poor – all this makes public education ridiculous. It is impossible to teach morals to the youth if you can survive violating moral precepts. Society is therefore a society that brings together citizens united on one moral and consistent when bringing up a generational change. If the training of the next generation is contrary to the practice of life, say the phrase "historical dead end." When a soldier in the trenches of Verdun asked historian Marc Bloch: "Has history lied to us?" – the soldier has established a historical dead end. When morality and rules of financial capitalism no longer explain the world and do not guarantee peace, it is a historical dead end.

What to do in a dead end: to reform Christianity, or to make a social revolution, that is, whether to change the nature of the training to fit the requirements of the moral reality or the reality of change with respect to the ideals of learning? It is much easier to rewrite the textbook, rather than to change the world. However, the world is still changing even when the textbook is being rewritten. So, in anticipation the First World primarily changed the aesthetic paradigm, that is, removed the human form from the didactics of art and massacres appeared written in a world where there was no criterion for an individual image.

We say that avant-garde artists had a premonition of slaughter and barracks; but most of all, the process of changing the aesthetic paradigm coincides with the general nature of the changes – the notorious Zeitgeist changes all the people simultaneously, as well as artists and generals. It is much harder to not follow the call of the spirit of the time than submit to it. The fact that it was not a "hunch," but a mass following, reflected that the spirit of the time almost all participants submitted to the artistic process, while a premonition is a purely personal phenomenon. Those who walked in defiance of the Zeitgeist were few.

The snowballing increase in avant-garde aesthetics, its victory is rampant today in the avant-garde of the recruitment of untrained ordinary people – all this proves that we are not dealing with the phenomenon of personal misgivings, but with an entire program.

The avant-garde was initially only a marginal group that quickly became a mass movement. The avant-garde initially only postulated a refusal of the market – today it is an indispensable condition for trade. The avant-garde initially only declared equality and socialism – quickly became clear that it was the avant-garde brings about inequalities. The avant-garde pretended to be functional but the avant-garde never built anything, they made decorations. The avant-garde presented humanistic art, but there was no avant-garde to defend the fatherland in wars and help the weak. The avant-garde is anti-humanist activity. The avant-garde pretended calling towards the future, but it is always stepping back. It turned out that this priestly, incantatory activities – it learned how to guide millions of people and revive pagan democracy in Western society.

We got accustomed to saying that avant-garde thinking updated aesthetics. However, to realize the scale of change, we must understand that the avant-garde of the 20th century made a return to paganism more consistent and profound than the return that was realized in the Renaissance in the 15th century.

Substantial mechanisms of Western culture: we see that Western Christian civilization constantly regenerates, restores power at the expense of regular reverse movement – first going back to pagan origins and then taking a new step forward. In this respect, the avant-garde of the 20th-21st centuries is similar to the Renaissance of the 13th-15th centuries; a return implemented by the same type. However, the fact is that it is impossible to know how deep the next return will run. Obviously, the reverse movement of the 15th century was carried out in the direction of the ancients, and as soon as antiquity was once a breeding ground of Christianity – in this sense, the return motion is not brought Western culture beyond the Christian paradigm; Moreover, this reverse movement not only abolished the Christian aesthetics, but her complicated, as it reproduced its causes and explained her need, has led to the synthesis of antiquity and Christianity. The dialogue of Antiquity and Christianity which arose among the Neoplatonists, was the result of the return and increase in wealth of the Christian way. The synthesis of paganism and Christianity in a single image of the Prophet (visibly manifested in the works of Michelangelo, or in Plotinus’ personality) was made possible because Antiquity itself operates in an anthropomorphic way, i.e. there was an object in which the spirit could incarnate. Reversing the movement was necessary to culture: gain strength in the soil, it again becomes spiritual, it strengthens the spirit of muscles. The problem is that the reciprocating movement principle of culture does not always work, it is not universal.

The ancient athlete managed to cross into the Christian spirit, but substantially greater difficulties arise when trying to incarnate in a black square, in the gas burner on the penis, in the objects of worship of Osiris. The peculiarity of our modern "revival" is that the reverse movement of 20th-21st centuries have gone backwards to a greater extent than in the Renaissance. This is a return to pre-Antiquity paganism, not anthropomorphic and zoomorphic or even Egyptian, but paganism of the elements in geomorphic myths of power and authority in a paganism which Christianity itself could never have. And it turned out that the synthesis with paganism in Christian culture cannot happen.

In other words, the reciprocating principle was refused: townspeople went on vacation in the village, but when they wanted to go home, they realized they forgot their addresses. Civilization returned to paganism, gain strength, and could not become Christian once again.

Something else is of interest. Suppose, at the depth of the pagan mind, which dropped to the western way of thinking of visual culture, the synthesis of the Christian aesthetics is no longer possible. But there is a normal process of growing up, which can be passed over. Every human life begins with the ovaries, why not repeat the experience? Any "rawness" sooner or later will be prepared: the child first draws and speaks unintelligible gibberish, but gradually, naturally, it turns into coherent speech and clear images. Artists deliberately forgot how to draw, they plunged into childhood, but at least children learn. Why would the artist who draws stripes not trained to re-draw objects? If history has returned us to a former state ruled by elements we are back in the time of youth, it can be assumed that we will undergo the same evolution that has taken place in the art world. We can assume that, sated spontaneous and elementary, artists again open perspective, learn about the shape and so on. Passing this way a second time doing it faster, as known works of art, have a history of Christian images. By way of samples and landmarks (beacons, if you speak the language of Baudelaire), you can get to that milestone, from which we took a step back from, to restore the lost. But the natural healing process occurs. In some tales of adults treated in small strengths of dark magic, but then returned to their original form. In this case, the transformation of the adult to a child will last forever. Raw is will never be prepared, in fact it is rotten. So lived masters for a long century, producing strips, placing point and line drawing squiggles – they die an old man with no attempt made to recover once again forgotten the ability to draw. This neo-juvenile state considered normal today, because it forces a new savagery into the world order of democracy.

In today's world there is a class of intermediaries, a kind of priests, transforming the naive savage gestures into sacred art, and the priests are interested so that that neo-childhood period lasted a long time, the entire life of the artist of life. Hierarchy, inherent terms and structure of shapes is nonexistent in new art, but there was another hierarchy – the seniority of a priest in a wordless tribe. The priest holds the tribe eternal youth captive, interested in preventing adulthood in occurring. The priest explains to the savages that they are an expression of the inability of freedom, that ineptitude is necessary to society. The peoples of Africa are kept in the wilderness, but nothing prevents the extra money that is available in the civilized part of the world to invest in the development of Africa. If "growing" Africa does not happen, we must admit that the savagery in the region is welcome. So it is with art: if the author of the performance with a gas burner has not changed his brutal style of forty years, if other authors continue to bind items to genitals, it must be assumed that in culture exists a system of relationships, akin to the colonial, which consciously keeps artists as savages.

This very type of creator changed. In place of the Renaissance artist, scientist, and author of the picture, came someone who is part of the work himself – exhibitors. Contemporary art does not produce images anymore because in the hands of a savage priest this work becomes an object of worship. His protest against civilization is organized by civilization itself; for his handmade savagery assumes a fee, and the savage knows that his services are in demand not in a wild society, but a progressive one.. The fate of the savage is sad – it becomes hostage to an unhealthy lifestyle imposed by the colonial administration, but these are the conditions of ethnographic art: the benefit of the mother country and civilization, the artist is sentenced to be forever, sentenced by young natives. This is a new aesthetic quality of degenerative – the key to successful management of the pagan empire.

In this sense, we can say that the so-called "degenerate art" finally took revenge on the Antiquated paradigm.


In 1937 Berlin, an exhibition of "Degenerate Art" was organized, which collected works condemned by the Nazis. It was called a collection of avant-garde art, but it has no relation to the avant-garde. The word "avant-garde" is generally used arbitrarily: Russian avant-garde is applied to the reverent Chagall and square-clusters of Malevich, which is absurd. The Nazis had a different classification.

First of all, the Nazis considered themselves the avant-garde. The paintings in the exhibition of "degenerate art" were gathered showed how human image was treated pejoratively (according to the ideologues of the Third Reich). That is the reproach, deemed by the curators of the exhibit, consisted in the fact that they are almost not avant-garde, because they do not create a "new man". In this case, the term "degenerate" was used as an antonym of the term "avant-garde".

The ideology of the Third Reich was heroic, and in certain speculations it may be interpreted as a return to classical aesthetics, with the obligatory cult of healthy body. In general, the idea of the purpose of history embodied in a heroic manner, – common idea does not belong only to Goebbels. The idea of a beautiful man as the top art was studied in detail in Hoggart’s The Analysis of Beauty and Lessing’s Laocoon, in the treatises of Dürer and Leonardo. The latter contained instructions on proportions that are optimal for the human body, and their meticulous details exceeded Lombroso and anthropological version of the Nazis. Nazi speech was the same, the effort required to civilization – an attempt to rejuvenate the Western civilization through a healthy pagan spirit. The Nazis did not fall so deeply to the roots as did Klee and Beuys – they wanted to preserve antiquity, clean it from Christianity, once and for all. According to the Nazi ideology (though is the same opinion as Nietzsche, for example) the decrepitude of civilization is due to the fact that the ancient beginning is reduced in Christianity. The Nazis, in fact, wanted to repeat the Renaissance, but also avoid mistakes of synthesis with Christianity; it had to be a counter-Renaissance. Embarrassed to admit this fact, but in the name of ancient harmony free from Christianity, they passed judgment on "degenerate" art. It was intended that the convicted paintings degrading the conception of man and this movement was a step away from the developing culture and was labeled "degenerate."

It is essential that the authors, whom the Nazis considered degenerate, and the Nazis themselves condemned Christian aesthetics. Both declared a return to paganism, simply this return was imagined differently. Both dreamed to rejuvenate civilization, but they viewed the youth differently. Declarations on the "dust of the culture of the West, which should shake off their feet" were constantly made, most artists were addicted to primitivism and shamanism, a passion for the wild creativity of ethnic peoples was rampant, and the recognition of the primacy of "subconscious" of consciousness was granted. Oddly enough, the artists so openly called back to the savagery that charges of "degeneration" had not become blatantly inaccurate. And before Hitler (Hegel, for example), the humiliation of the human image had been condemned. But no one dared use the term "degenerate art". The Nazis were defeated – works of "degenerate art" survived in the end, they have proven as useful new aesthetics. The thing is that the new aesthetics abandoned its ancient beginning – those who decided to go further were right.

The movement away from the anthropomorphic image of the West in modern aesthetics associated with the current state of managed democracy: we declare personal rights, but do not want to see the person, the right to embody.

The tyrannical stage of recent history has been expressed in the images that we do not like as prototypes. However, these were images, including role models. Victory over the heroic aesthetics of the Nazis provoked the same heroic answer. There were images of heroes who stand in the history of Western culture monuments: Picasso’s Man with a Lamb and Zadkine’s The Destroyed City, the girl from Guernica, Dr. Rie from The Plague," heroes of Robert Jordan, heroes of Brecht and Bellamy Camus and Picasso , Giacometti and Hemingway, Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov, Sartre and Shostakovich. They have a straight spine and open face ... European existentialism showed samples of ancient valor.

This ended quite quickly – in about 10 years’ time the new outpouring of European humanism was exhausted. It has become a mockery of heroic character of Francis Bacon, channeled on canvas. So "cooked" was again "raw."

There was another time to reverse the motion, which was called postmodernism – time for iconoclastic creativity. Neo-degenerative art went continued the degenerate art of the 20th century.

Neo-degenerative art rejects not just morality of the bourgeoisie, but all moralizing, any institution. The learning process will inevitably lead to a detailed recognition of the world, complicating the perspectives and the appearance of the image, but this is what civilization should fear. Art exists in education, and in enforced functions but in pagan societies the watchdog function is key. The absence of the human form suggests a lack of morality in art – the morality given to the priests, the counterpoint taken out of works; ask the master what purpose they serve and the answer will sound immediately: "freedom"; but do not ask them what freedom is.

Art ceasing to embody the idea that it does not have flesh and all of the above leads us to a simple truth: the last century Western civilization saw a change in criteria of beauty.


Sandro Botticelli once repeated the painting of Apelles (as the picture described by Lucian, as Apelles painting has not survived), and created a great metaphor for the trial of the Christian paradigm in our world. Botticelli painting is called The Calumny of Apelles (Libel). The picture presented the trial of a beautiful woman. A judge with donkey ears reads the indictment, false witnesses whisper to the snobby freak with the long ears, and a naked woman tries to prove her innocence in vain. The woman symbolizes the misrepresentation of the truth, and is also understood by Neoplatonists as Beauty.

This repetition of the composition of Greek tragedy only confirms the legitimacy of Christianity; in the ancient world of goodness was always known in the wrong judgments of truth, although the process led to defeat. Christian truth has trained to win, "death by death," but for the judge with donkey ears to reason is impossible. We do not believe in a particular court time, but we believe in the ultimate triumph of harmony, because our descendants and history will be the logic of beauty, embodying the true dimensions of the world. Harmony, an identical blessing, finds a place in the most tragic and bitter canvases by Picasso, Van Gogh, Goya and Mantegna; this is the last frontier – embody the measure of things, the definition of Hegel – harmony will never give up. Everything is bad, but the structure of the image, the very principle of ratios and proportions, the very strength of words and colors scream is the bastion that will never be taken away. The painting by Goya The Third of May 1808 shows a solid hopeless doom of the uprising and – simultaneously – a fierce victory. Millions of believers wear the cross on his chest, showing the torture and agony, and the same cross symbolizes for them the victory over death. Catharsis, as described by Aristotle, can turn tragedy into triumph and a great lesson of truth.

All of the above sounds promising. The principle of tragedy and catharsis the power of harmony are certainly invincible, but victory is only possible as long as there is a tragedy.

The principle of tragedy is valid only if there is a subject of tragedy. If suffering from a subject endowed with a soul does not exist, there is tragedy; massacres can take place, but a massacre does not turn into – catharsis and understanding will never come; a herd is slaughtered, but it does not bring the mountain sheep moral victory. We see everyday that you can be a witness to mass atrocities, but the witness does not get any smarter or kinder. Moreover, in most cases, the witness takes the side of the murderers, if the murderer of barbarians confirms their own social status. Brought up in the pursuit of privileges Kholuy pagan society will accept any mass murder as a ritual sacrifice, it will fight for the right to survive, but never will defend the rights of compassion.

Through the efforts of paganism, democracy established such aesthetics, which excludes the tragedy and negates the person, as long as the person is made up of other people of the universal knowledge of categorical provisions. Doctrinairism is rejected – morality is rejected; they approve not freedom from dogma but freedom from harmony. This is extremely convenient for managing a greedy corporation, but hopeless for a hostel. The fact that the metamorphosis of Western society has been produced with the help of the artistic avant-garde shows only historical conflicts; that the concept of freedom has been used for the approval of dependence is the usual democratic practice. That ugly, neo-degenerative art stimulates oppression is obvious. But there are less obvious things

The existence of a tragedy, and then the existence of the criteria of beauty set before us the question whether catharsis occurs in the absence of an anthropomorphic image? Or else, if the anthropomorphic image is the essence of the Christian religion’s incarnation of the spirit, can a retreat from the Christian paradigm preserve the harmony of the world as a whole? Or quite simply: what is Christian civilization without Christian art and why?

Maksim Kantor