Art is invention, anticipation, representation of life, albeit through the eyes and the very personal sensibility of the artist.
It is symbol, image and media at the same time. Solid energy, condensed into an archetype common to all the cultures of humanity. We all have common roots, we all belong to the same lineage, even in our differences that express only the infinite varieties of creation and as such are our wealth, our common heritage. Only our mind has created over time the illusion of division, of separation through religions, politics, beliefs. I do not deny the importance of the rules, the structures that humanity had to use to shape societies, but not when all this contributes to creating division. Art has in this sense a great value, a great usefulness: it has the power to involve, to unite, to help cure this error of our mind. Yes, to cure !
In Western countries, there are more and more experiences of using Art as a system of care and as a support for traditional therapies, for diseases unfortunately common to all the human beings: burnout, mental and behavior disorder, obesity, handycap, just to name some. Something that was very well known in the Far East tradition for a very long time.
Humanity and their environment are connected: between them there is a contiguous exchange of positive and negative vibrations that affect each other’s state.
We believe we’re just matter, but we just forgot that everything is energy in motion.
For this reason “Art” as the famous and amazing filmmaker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky said ” … has the ability to give to the individual his infinite potential and, therefore, to offer him a cure. “
Art and culture in general, are a cure for the spirit of modern man, confused and sometimes oppressed by the environment in which he lives, increasingly modified and increasingly linked to artificial values and behaviors.
The famous 1983 painting “The Scream” by the artist Edvard Munch that has been widely interpreted as representing the universal anxiety of modern man describe and express this condition in the clearest way.
Art, (paintings, sculptures, music, books, comics or in any way we express it) is a gift given to humanity always and especially in the times in which we live.
From Leonardo to Damien Hirst, from the Impressionism of the mid-1800s in France that described how in a photograph of vivid colors everyday life, to the experiential and interactive art of the most recent times, it has changed only the way to express itself through cultural codes of the time in which artists operate. The nature and the potential of Art are always the same: bringing humanity back to its center, helping to remember itself, to bring it back and express its most hidden emotions.
An Italian movie from the 1990s called “Stendhal Syndrome” describes the impact a masterpiece has on human soul. The movie’s plot by the famous director Dario Argento is unfortunately very gloomy, as in the tradition of his horrors, but in the opening sequences when in a museum the protagonist Asia Argento faints in front of a masterpiece of the past, as a result of a strong emotion (the Stendhal Syndrome precisely) reminds us with wise artistic direction how our sensitivity, even the less developed and the most unconscious, as a result our emotions are moved deeply by the power of Art.
Art is therefore an emotional engine, an enzyme that flows in our blood even when we do not realize it once we have exposed ourselves to it, a medicine for our soul, our spirit (or whatever you want to call it).
Think for a moment about Tarots, the cards used for predicting the future’s purposes; believe it or not it doesn’t matter. Whether you’ve met those who used them for fraudulent purposes or just for fun, makes no difference. The Tarots are wonderful pictorial representations of symbols that belong to all humanity (the Sun, the Moon, the World, the Death, the Judgment, the Emperor, etc.), archetypes that we share as a human beings, without any exception of culture, religion or birth place. As other symbols are, the Chinese I CHING ( 周易 ) for example.
The french writer and philosopher Edouard Shuré in his wonderful 1889 book Les Grands Initiés. Esquisse de l’histoire secrète des religions, said that in ancient Egypt, disciples before being admitted to the secrets of the Priests of the Temple were subjected to an initiation that included a period of long meditation in front of images, symbols of great strength and energy (the Sun, the Moon, the World and so on) precisely the first Tarots. And this was not for sure related to any religious system.
Meditate upon images had the only purpose to help to get in touch with the most intimate part of the disciples and to prepare them for better understanding the greatest mysteries.
The world we live in, has changed everything. Access to knowledge is no longer reserved for a few initiates. Through the Internet we can instantly access all the resources and knowledge of the world. More, television and classic or even pop music ( English band The Beatles with their revolutionary “love” songs ) opened up horizons unthinkable centuries ago. And the books themselves (consider that the year of publication of the so-called Gutenberg Bible was 1455, only more or less 500 years ago); it was the first book of some importance to be printed using the technique of mobile characters. From this point on, Europe – and the whole world – has entered a real revolution, the acceleration of which is increasing dramatically.
And culture today no longer entirely coincides with the place of birth. Mixed identities, increasingly less and less classified in predefined models, are growing, inspired by universal transnational values. In this globalized context, art and culture represent for humanity not only a cure or ( why not ?! ) a good “economic investment” but also and mainly a resource of common evolution.
by Sergio Battimiello
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