Let us consider two important factor, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity.
To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out of a clearing.
If we give the attributes of a medium to the artist, we must them deny him the state of consciousness on the esthetic plane about what he is doing or why he is doing it. All his decisions in the artistic execution of the work rest with pure intuition and cannot be transrelated into a self-analysis, spoken or written, or even thought out.
T. S. Eliot, in his essay on “Tradition and Individual Talent”, writes: “The more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates; the more perfectly will the mind digest and transmute the passions which are its material.”
Millions of artists create; only a few thousands are discussed or accepted by the spectator and many less again are consecrated to posterity.
In the last analysis, the artist may shout from all the rooftops that he is a genius; he will have to wait for the verdict of the spectator in order that his declarations take a social value and that, finally, posterity includes him in the primers of Art History.
I know that this statement will not meet with the approval of many artists who refuse this mediumistic role and insist on the validity of their awareness in the creative act – yet, art history has consistently decided upon the virtues of a work of art through considerations completely divorced from the rationalized explanations of the artist.
If the artist, as a human being, full of the best intentions towards himself and the whole world, plays no role at all in the judgement of his own work, how can one describe the phenomenon which prompts the spectator to react critically to the work of art? In other words how does this reaction come about?
This phenomenon is comparable to a transference from the artist to the spectator in form of an esthetic osmosis taking place through the inert matter, such as pigment, piano or marble.
But before we go further, I want to clarify our understanding of the word “art” – to be sure, without an attempt to a definition.