Philippe Vacher


Between nature and culture

We know that the death of art is only a myth, like the end of religions. A new spirit will usher in this century by advocating a new language, based on the equilibrium, the forces of nature ; it will influence increasingly eclectic creation process drawing from all cultural sources, especially from a revisited primitive thought or the oriental thought whose sensitivity was much less materialistic than ours. The work was thus recognized as a mediator between the mind of the creator and the nature to which he belonged. It could reconcile opposites and complementary aspects (yin and yang), assert itself as an expression of both rest and movement, the manifestation of deconstructive and constructive forces at play in the universe. It even transcended visible reality by granting the empty an existence on which depended the tangible world. The concept of active vacuum underlies Indian, Chinese and Japanese thinking and resurfaces with the question of physicians on missing mass in our universe.

We can reread the history of the twentieth century by asking questions on the artists who devalued the status of the work of art. Some reduced it to a concept, to a philosophical discourse. Others have established, in keeping with the entertainment society, the art of pompous or ridiculous showmanship. A creative logorrhea was encouraged by a bulimic art market and the frenetic power of fashion with, also, the will to display provocative images (an old recipe for modernity). "Everything goes" was already the motto in the 1980s. The work of art as a new commodity gadget, but adorned with its former aura, supported by opportunistic art critics and business collectors.

We might also point out that new technologies largely contributed to make life more artificial. A new language is never neutral. It constructs our daily imagination. We become sensitivities programmed to react to certain stimuli. The profusion of images in our visual field lead us to ask: Are we still reactive enough to oppose other forms of values? Can we seriously question their authority? To what extent can an art creation emancipate itself from this hypersaturated and supposedly over-informed environment?

The human being is a delicate balance of knowledge and ignorance. It feels a vital need to express itself, but if there is still room for artistic expression, it must overcome the artificial character of our media society. The individual must immerse himself deep into consciousness and seek the essential links connecting him/her to a world whose nature remains mysterious, like the laws that regulate the relations and the life of all living beings. We are nothing and everything, the microcosm and macrocosm. We must awaken our sleeping consciences and, in an aesthetic of correctness, return to the sense of belonging to our intrinsic quality of cosmic being.

Philippe Vacher – 2005