JF Martel’s Manifesto
JF Martel’s recently published ‘Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice‘ opens with the following manifesto –
“Art is the name we have given to humanity’s most primal response to the mystery of existence. It was in the face of the mystery that dance, music, poetry, and painting were born.
Since the dawn of the current era, art has been under threat.
In the place where it belongs on the cultural landscape,
two idols stand like golden calves demanding worship:
Pornography, the use of aesthetics to manipulate
through desire; and
Propaganda, the use of aesthetics to manipulate
Even where true art is made, powerful economic and political forces are there to subjugate it to one of the idols.
The work of art is apolitical and free of moralism. “The artist,” Wilde said, “is free to express everything.”
It is precisely the absence of political and moral interest
that make art an agent of liberation wherever it appears.
Art opposes tyranny by freeing beauty from the clutches of the powers of this world.
True beauty is not pretty. It is a tear in the facade of
the everyday, a sudden revelation of the forces seething
beneath the surface of things.
Only the revelation of beauty can save our world.
The artist is always and for all time a seer, and artistic creation
is always and for all time an act of prophecy.
The artist does not choose the prophecy. Rather the prophetic
shines through her work. It comes from elsewhere.
The artist therefore needs enough courage to stay
true to the work at hand. Even greater courage is
required of those who to whom the finished work
is given, for their interests will always recommend
dismissing the vision for fear of its implications.
Only through art can human beings express and share the
archetypal powers that shape the universe.
To abandon art would mean forfeiting the gift of vision,
which, by all appearances, was given to humans alone.
To reclaim it might enable us to recover our faith in
this world, and to act in accordance with that faith for
the benefit of life on earth.”