There is no better way to escape the world than through art and yet, it is the most secure and strongest link to our world.
Today’s art world is a captivating subject in fact, every single day there is something new to learn or discover. Auction houses are testimony, along with the persistent number of galleries doing business worldwide, to the current successful art market.
Global auctions welcomed bidders from 136 countries highlighting the international appeal of art. 19% of registered bidders were new clients. Christies has had record results in the past three years demonstrating that more people in more places in the world are captivated by art and seeking to acquire it. This trend is apparent at every level of the art market from £1,000 to over £50 million. Noting the top auction house sales figures, the Contemporary European art market continues to appreciate due to global demand.
Accessible Art is the latest trend in the art world. This means opening the world art market to emerging young artists, which allows them to sell their works at accessible prices. This movement continues to benefit Contemporary art in terms of audience because art is now more accessible to a public that might not have an art degree or be a collector. Thus, they do not have to be versed in the genre, but they can nevertheless enjoy the expansion and production of art.
In Europe and the world, art has crossed many different periods made of evolutions and of involutions, through which artists and their works become the expression of the times. Contemporary art has seen the birth of innovative movements and revolutionary ones such as Cubism. Therefore it is in contemporaneity where traditional representation of subjects and objects rests; bodies deform, lines break and figures are upside down in a general distortion of colors and light reflecting new contemporary society.
This contemporary world is one twisted by war, where the spirit of humanity has become disturbed; it is anxious thanks to the violent and sudden wars leaving no means of escape. Guernica by Picasso was probably the ultimate symbol of how to make art in a contemporary environment. It is an enormous canvas painted exclusively in black and white, with a few grey veins drenched in gloomy and decisive colors like those portraying the cities in the daily black and white newspaper images. Spades, dead babies and screaming mothers are only a few of the depictions alternating on the masterpiece of Picasso, symbol of a disarmed and anguished contemporaneity that nonetheless shows a hopefulness (the light placed high on the canvas), in returning to a semblance of normalcy.
During the twentieth century, the communicative and creative visual arts undergo an expansion. For example, in the Sixties and Seventies, Duchamp conceived the ready-made; installations, Land Art, happenings, Body Art, video and photography were some of the media used by these artists. At this point, the painting died a loud and gripping death. Recently however, painting has been exhumed and is making a great comeback, in fact its prestige has been restored worldwide thorough collectors and institutions. We saw towards the end of 2002 the Centre Pompidou in France who presented Cher Peintre, Lieber Maler (Figurative Painting since the last Picabia) and now a decade later, abstract works are coming back as well.
Charles Saatchi presented in London between 2004 and 2005, a series of three shows called The Triumph of Painting. In 2007, MOMA investigated the place of painting in contemporary art from the Sixties to the present with the exhibition ”What is Painting?” If we look at this multimedia era, it would seem that painting has nothing more to say, yet the question “why painting now,” seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere and artists worldwide have returned to the ancient form of communication.
It seems, the return to painting, has come about from an opposition to digital art and the explosion of computer screens. Today, painting has been and is being demonstrated, similar to writing, as one of the long-lasting and vital means of expression. Is painting that timeless vehicle through which real contact with the world is possible? It would seem to be.
In fact, there is a return to contemporary abstract painting now a decade later after the return to figurative works within this whole movement of returning to painting. The communistic ideal of anti-representation or anti-establishment has disappeared. The modern abstract paintings of the Thirties and Forties, minimalism of the Sixties and Seventies and the neo-abstraction of the Eighties are long gone. Art fairs are full of abstract works on the walls, bursting with painting.
Abstract works tend to reflect and or form an image of how the world feels. It too is simply a reaction against technology. Living in this world full of computer screens has created a lack of objects. Furthermore, real pigments used to mix oils and acrylics are extremely different from what comes out of an inkjet printer or through pixels on a screen. There is that special something, in material realness that paintings bring to the forefront and, the use of texture is an antidote to the total lack of texture of our society today.
The new generations of painters are emphasizing the method not the result, the journey being more important than the end. How the work is made seems to be the whole point of the work and the fascination with materials almost borders on fetishism.
As Jackson Pollock said, “modern art is none other than the expression of the ideals of the epoch in which we live.”