Saturday, April 14, 2012

George Sakkal on Creativity

I've been having a conversation with collage artist George Sakkal over email regarding artists like Koons and Hirst.  In the last email of our conversation he succinctly laid out his ideas about the nature of creativity... 

"Artists like Picasso, Juan Gris, Jackson Pollack (from the NY School of Abstract Expressionism)  were methodologists. They searched for composition and discovered the work in the process of their search. They did not preconceive the work in advance. They did not rely on their conscious.  In the act of creativity artists who rely on their conscious mind preconceive their work (i.e.the urinal, the fish in a tank, etc)   I don't apply Freudian terms to describe what artist do ( i.e. ego ,finite self.) These terms confuse the issue.

Who we are is based largely on our human experience...stored from the moment we are born to the here and now in billions of neurons ( brain cells of the nervous system) in our brain. In the act of creativity ...the search for composition,  we draw upon and activate memory (stored experience). The activation occurs automatically, cognitively and out of the awareness of consciousness. I define Art as being the cognitive unconscious visual creative manifestation of human experience.   Our stored memory has near infinite creative potential to draw upon.  Repetition is an essential early learning tool that a developing artist should use in the form of sketching, drawing , painting over and over again to stimulate and build up neuron capacity on the right side of the brain.   An artist should do this for his entire life even when he becomes accomplished.  The more capacity that builds the greater becomes the unconscious mind's automatic cognitive ability to discover composition.  Juan Gris said that he never preconceived his work ...he searched for the composition allowing it to evolve. It defines itself. Once defined the artist, (based on this skill and cultivated abilities honed by the learning from repetition) can produce art of high aesthetic quality.

Duchamp as a painter used this process to produce the  30 or so paintings he created.  He was a great painter...and he got better in his creativity the more he painted (i.e. repetition).   In January of 1912 he created Nude Descending a Staircase , #2, his greatest painting  and submitted it for exhibition in the CUBISM show hosted by the Salon for Independent artists in Paris. The judges rejected it claiming it was not CUBISTIC; it was more futuristic and contained a nude...and the rules said no nudes in the show. Duchamp was so angered that he would not go to the Salon to retrieve it...his brothers did it for him.  In 1913 he submitted the piece into the New York Armory show and it was rediculed by much of the public and by many in the media. By now his feelings concerning visual art were taking an ominous destructive path. In 1917 he returned to the Armory show and submitted the Fountain, I think to mock the show's producers and get back at  those who he regarded as his tormentors  I think these events embittered Duchamp and served to drive him away from painting which he essentially stopped doing in 1918. His denunciation of the visual, and the retinal in art was a consequence  of his personal humiliation by the status quo of the time. In protest he turned to the conscious mind away from composition and methodology defining the true pathway to art creativity as a conscious mental act rather than a visual one.  It wasn't until later that he capitalized on his urinal episold by introducing the conscious mind "Idea" approach to creating art as the "readymade" (examples of which are seen by his artist worshippers at ART/BASEL).

Beginning In the 1980's with discoveries in the new emerging fields of cognitive psychology and the neurosciences commenced the understanding of the workings of the unconscious far beyond the earlier research that was made available by Freud. When I began my research into this new knowledge three years ago I realized that when these scientific discoveries are applied to Duchamp's theory (which is now accepted by the cultural elite as gospel) it soon became clear to me that virtually all of what he postulated was false. Duchamp is not a god, rather he was a clever "wise guy" who came along to fool creative society into believing itself to be something it is not."

-George Sakkal

The art of George Sakkal... you can see more images on his website

Ascending a Staircase

Harvest Moon

Night Vision

What Lies Beyond

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