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Visual Arts in the Digital Era

Challenges for creators, critics and the audience

 

The tremendous accessibility in the process of image producing, reproducing, managing, and sharing propagated by digital technology has altered the terms through which we approach visual artworks.

To what extent do digital tools presently available to artists, critics and researchers determine the manner in which they employ visual art? And even more importantly: What does digital reality mean for visual artists? Does it transform the manner or the essence of their work? Does it in itself constitute a part of the art, or is it maintained as an element separate from the artistic creation?

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1 Comment

  1. Art emitting digital vibes from the quarantine era: caught in between two different kinds of emotion

    The Covid-19 pandemic forced humanity – to an unprecedented extent – to stare directly at all human existence-driven questions. A self-reflection over what really matters, a reevaluation of our priorities, a contemplation on the way we experience both the tangible and psychological ramifications of critical events dominated (as will continue to do so, apparently) public discourse and became the number one topic of discussion throughout society.
    In this context, art found itself face to face with multiple crossroads: in the times of the coronavirus, what can be deemed as artistic creation? As an artist, do you succumb to the dynamics and the intensity of the conjuncture, opting for an in situ method of work or do you proceed untrammelled with your artistic endeavors (ars longa, vita bravis, as they say)? Do you respond to your audience’s anxieties or do you guide other people through your own set of truths? Or maybe you choose to go down a more cynical and down-to-earth road: looking upon the confinement and social distancing crisis as a breakthrough for the promotion of new digital markets or as a tool for the constant reshaping of the status quo?
    It’s commonplace in art that such dilemmas – regardless of the answers ultimately given – are comprised of the tiles that will serve as building material for tomorrow’s “truth”. It goes without saying that young artists made use of the digital platforms long before the coronavirus outbreak, but using something out of choice (and many times, as a form of challenge) and using something out of necessity couldn’t be more apart from one another.
    It is often said that a crisis is an opportunity and this famous maxim seems to leave an unprecedented global-scale imprint. We can all agree that nothing can match up to the experience of live contact with a piece of art, but the more we insist on the “democratization of the digital revolution” the more we’ll see people, who were deprived of that privilege, being thrown into ruptures by this fascinating and until recently unseen world. One of my most beloved Jackson Pollock’s paintings is exhibited at the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice. I can recall bursting into tears time and time again before its beauty – who can tell if it was an emotion stirred through contact or arising from the magnitude of the artistic imprint? During the quarantine and in the midst of a minor despair attack, I sought – almost in despair – to relive this emotion, resorting to a digital substitute. It was as if I was there, but at the same time, I could sense that I wasn’t. And all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed by a different kind of emotion, the one that you’re drawn into when you realize that this time you don’t just share this experience only with the other co-visitors of a museum, but – at least potentially – with all humanity.

    Tassos Retzios
    Mataroa Editor-in-chief

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