Monday, 5 July 2010

“I wander in the face, I wander in the landscape, I am a wanderer”. Kokoshka

The second essay I consider is one of Oskar Kokoschka, an Austrian expressionist. His seminal painting The Tempest is considered a key image of Expressionistic love. The two lovers are in a boat in space. The shapes are broken, all caught up in a static dislocation.

On The Nature of Visions (1912):

Some background:

As Vienna became a centre of introspective Modernism by the fin de siècle a great deal of interest was paid to Freud's publication of his study Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams) in 1900. The unconscious became a concept that artists considered through their art. Kokoschka summarised his theories on Expressionistic art in his essay "Von den Natur der Gesichte" (1912, On the Nature of Visions).

Kokoschka treats a constant motif of German Idealism: The Spirit. Hegel had used the word "Spirit" as interchangeable with "God" in his philosophical dialectic. Kokoschka's writings provide a vitalism (the doctrine that life processes arise from a nonmaterial vital principle) in which the soul (especially the soul of the artist), free and possessive of a vigorous innocence, is in direct harmony with the forces of nature and the universe.

o “The state of awareness of visions is a level of consciousness at which we experience visions within ourselves”.

o “The experience cannot be fixed … Yet the awareness of such imagery is a part of living. It is life selecting from the forms which flow towards it or refraining, at will”.

o “A life which derives its power from within itself will focus the perception of such images”.

o “There is an outpouring of feeling into the image which becomes the soul’s plastic embodiment”.

o “The unborn child receives through the mother all his visual impressions, even while he himself is unseen”.

o The life of the consciousness is boundless”.

o “We must strive through the penumbra of words to the core within”

o “All that is required of us is to RELEASE CONTROL”. “The inquiring spirit rises from stage to stage, until it encompasses the whole of Nature”.

o “The awareness of visions can never fully be described. Its essence is a flowing”.

o “Whatever the orientation of a life, its significance will depend on this ability to conceive the vision”.

o “Of the forms which come into the consciousness some are chosen while others are excluded arbitrarily”.

o “Consciousness is the source of all things and of all conceptions”. It is a sea about with visions”.

o “My mind is the tomb of all things which have ceased to be the true hereafter into which they enter”.

o “All that is essential of them is their image within myself”.

o Kokoschka concludes with a summarising remark on the nature of imagination: "Thus in everything imagination is simply that which is natural. It is nature, vision, life”.

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