L’Être et le néant.

“Being = Nothingness”, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, 2017.

My painting tribute to Sartre (Existentialism), and to Kazimir Malevich (Suprematism): “L’Être = le néant”, 40 x 40 cm., oil on canvas, 2017, Adam Donaldson Powell.

I was so proud after having finally struggled through the abstractions of Sartre’s «L’Être et le néant» as a young man. But alas I then shortly afterwards saw a news documentary on him where he dismissed much of the importance of the book. I was devastated — selfishly so, but still … I get it.

When Dr. Santosh Kumar published his amazing literary criticism of my own literary output I was shocked and embarrassed. It is easier to fight for recognition than to have that rebellious creative instinct squashed by general acceptance and praise. Since then, I have learned that many great innovative and free-thinking authors and artists were/are creative and reactive experimenters rather than geniuses who have discovered «truths embedded in historical stone for an Eternity.» We create as a means of survival in a world which we often are out of tempo with. We need the constant resistance that keeps our creative adrenalin going, as well as a flow of new ideas, new visions and new ways to re-create ourselves … Yes, almost as if our very survival is dependent upon it.

Authors and artists have the right to disassociate themselves even from our own publicly acclaimed “masterpieces”. Just think of how Beethoven cringed at hearing amateurs perform his popular ditties everywhere he went. “Fur Elise”, “Moonlight Sonata” … etc. Nonetheless, I still love the literature of Sartre, Camus, Leduc, Proust, Kafka, Genet etc. — even though I now see their “genius” in the perspective of the times in which they lived, thought and worked.

Verily, we are not primarily artists or authors, but rather Thinkers who use art and literature as a framework to temporarily frame and exhibit the sea of existentialism in which we all float, swim, drown and think. Embracing the concepts voiced by Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir etc. gives us all the treasured «condemnation to be free». Truly, we are mainly thought, consciousness and Spirit. The rest is meaningfully NON-existent.

— Adam Donaldson Powell

«In irony a man annihilates what he posits within one and the same act; he leads us to believe in order not to be believed; he affirms to deny and denies to affirm; he creatives a positive object but it has no being other than its nothingness.»
— Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

«Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without “things” (that is, the “time-tested well-spring of life”).»
— Kasimir Malevich, The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism

«The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.
— Kasimir Malevich

homage to malevich
Tribute to Malevich (Oil on canvas).
emptinessgivingbirthtonothingness
Emptiness giving birth to Nothingness, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm.
Letting go (of love).
Letting go (of love), 40×40 cm., oil on canvas is about the process of trying to move on — without a loved one. The memories of that person become blurred, the pain is, romanticised, the sense of betrayal and anger gradually become replaced by arrogant self-pity and then denial that love ever was (in fact) mutual. Solace and personal redemption are found written as graffiti on the wall — in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: “We are condemned to be free” (here in Spanish: “Estamos condenados a ser libres”).

the making of a poet
Dr. Santosh Kumar’s book on the poetry of Adam Donaldson Powell.

 

NEW: Rant and quotes about art and literature …

“There is no perfection in art. By definition art is planned imperfection, and sometimes mistakes reinterpreted into a new vision. Nothing in Nature is composed of straight lines but yet Nature is always perfect. The artist is always making conscious and unconscious decisions about straight lines or not, and many other questions. That is the process of Art — decision making in an intuitive context and environment.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“Like with classical music performance, harmony in painting is about much more than following tenets and theories of perspective, geometric balance, colour etc. It is also about conveying a sense of total cohesion and internal transition within the painting. One area of the painting (one musical passage) cannot seem more difficult technically than another. All must seem equally effortless or equally belabored (by intention in order to make a certain effect). Of course, painting effortlessly and with utmost control requires a high degree of expertise and technical mastery — and many of us are continuously developing new technical skills to aid and accommodate our ever-expanding artistic visions. Therefore creating a degree of illusion is often required — i.e. making the unintentional and the technically more poorly-executed appear as though it is, in fact, perceived as both intended and artistic.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“Should a work of art be technically perfect like a computer art piece or a graphic, or is it more “artistic” to allow for technical and interpretive inaccuracies … as in some of the art by Picasso and some of his art revolutionary contemporaries? Famous art must be seen and judged in the context of art history and politics. That is also true of contemporary art. And for that reason copies of famous artists’ styles and works are — by definition — uninteresting. Experiment with new styles, ideas, voices in your art. Make mistakes that are transformed into genius. Recycle and improve upon ideas and techniques that did not work out 100%. Life is one continuous painting process. You are never done, and everything can be re-done and re- interpreted. Our paintings mistakes are merely s reflection of our imperfect mental and intuitive processes struggling to fit into learned technical skills that sometimes require expansion.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“Death is creative, but not picky — she will claim us according to her time schedule and whims, regardless of cause of Death. Don’t obsess over Death. Live each moment as if it were your first and last.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

A RANT FROM AN ARTIST AND AN AUTHOR:

“It has never been easy to make one’s living from art or literature. ‘The Game of achieving Success’ as an artist, author or performer often feels ‘rigged’, unfair and sometimes even totally random. Among the contributing factors to this perception are: the impact of social media-driven popular trends; the ‘celebrity factor’; prices so high that they exclude most potential buyers and send them instead to purchase copies of famous paintings, quickly-made and mass-produced style knock-offs sold on the internet, and “art posters” from the internet and department stores; publishers’ insurance: best-selling books by celebrities, which are often largely ‘ghost-written’; small galleries which search for and promote unusual and original art being pressed out of business by high-rents and large galleries (as well as the perception that art by famous persons is the only worthwhile “investment”); the expectation from art galleries and publishing companies that artists and authors themselves create a strong following and sales base through social media — thus distracting from the real strengths of artists and authors: creating art and literature; and many other technological advances and trends that favour internet business transactions instead of physical art galleries and bookstores etc. Celebrity status does not necessarily make for good art or literature, but because these persons have a good grip on social media then pretty much whatever they produce will sell. Unfortunately many persons look for art that gives one ‘status’ and future investment potential — rather than art they actually will like over time. I have previously criticised the present phenomenon of artists more or less directly copying famous artists such as Warhol, Rothko, Pollock etc. — and even street artists such as Banksy — ad nauseam, instead of picking up on a few ideas and making their own stylistic furtherances. The same goes for literature. Where are the new literary styles? Because art and literature are such a business commodity today, we risk losing the ‘soul’ of artistic expression. Many of these ‘fast-selling’ artworks by ‘celebrities’ which are being bought for $100,000+ will never find a place in art history. And neither will much of today’s quick and mass-produced ‘formula hack-fiction’. Will my own art and literature be remembered? Probably not. However, I have attempted to explore new ways/styles of writing and of painting. Perhaps someone else will pick up on some of my ideas and develop them further.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“Wanted: for breaking the rules of Art and Writing!”, self-portrait, 65×90 cm., oil on canvas, 2018

Sitat: “Det er viktig å ha gode tekniske ferdigheter men kunst krever publikumstekke, publikumsvennlige ideer, budskap og evne til å bevege mennesker — enten til glede og inspirasjon eller forakt etc. God kunst formidler ut fra hjertet og tankene til kunstneren som beboer på planeten. Det tekniske blir ingen erstatning for dette.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

Quote: “It’s important to have good technical skills, but art requires crowd appeal, ideas of public/social interest, messages and the ability to move people – either to joy and inspiration or contempt etc. Good art conveys from the heart and mind of the artist as one who lives on the planet. Technical skills alone will not compensate for lack of this.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“I see poetry everywhere. In fact, each and every one of my paintings is a poem or a story … with hints of a song, an opera, a dance, a theater performance.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

“Like Vincent van Gogh, I am an impasto painter. My painting tools include brushes, knives, plastic, rags, sponges, credit cards, pieces of wood, leaves, fingers, hands, feet … basically, whatever it takes to create the effect, textures and spirit of the idea to be conveyed. I paint on everything I can find: canvas, paper, wooden boards, cardboard, cloth, styrofoam, rocks … It is both a passion and an addiction. Lots of dopamine in my brain, I guess.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

ADAM AS PAINTER:
“My ‘style’? I instinctively rebel against being conveniently labelled as ‘this, or that’; just as I rebel against the so-called ‘rules of painting’, or ‘rules of writing’ … or populistic black-and-white classifications such as ‘political correctness vs. incorrectness’ etc. Actually, it is the audacity of these concepts that annoys me. The need of others to classify me, my art, my writing … or anything, is surely an indication of their own egotism, insecurities, limitations and weaknesses. Alas, we live in a world of labels, ratings, and quality judgments based on popularity and price. The closest relevant generic style classifications of my own art might be perhaps ‘abstract’, ‘colour field’, ‘geometric’, ‘abstract expressionist’, ‘minimalist’ etc. But I always find my own ‘mix’ … with limitless variations. My art and writing are meant to be different and new; and pleasing, challenging and annoying — at the same time.”
— Adam Donaldson Powell

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“An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc”
― Henri Matisse

“The goal of every culture is to decay through over-civilization; the factors of decadence, – luxury, skepticism, weariness and superstition, – are constant. The civilization of one epoch becomes the manure of the next.”
― Cyril Connolly

“Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first – the story of our quest for sexual love – is well known and well charted, its vagaries form the staple of music and literature, it is socially accepted and celebrated. The second – the story of our quest for love from the world – is a more secret and shameful tale. If mentioned, it tends to be in caustic, mocking terms, as something of interest chiefly to envious or deficient souls, or else the drive for status is interpreted in an economic sense alone. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first, it is no less complicated, important or universal, and its setbacks are no less painful. There is heartbreak here too.”
— Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety

Great BBC podcast entitled “Too Many Artists? Can there be too many artists in the world?”: HERE!

“Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man’s physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.”
― Charles Baudelaire, The Painter Of Modern Life And Other Essays

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ADAM SCREAMED FOR MARINA ABRAMOVIC:

Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic

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SOME GREAT ART ARTICLES AND DOCUMENTARIES:

A good article about “disgusting / disturbing art” HERE!

Degenerate Art —

David Hockney BBC documentary : The lost secret of the old masters —

«The deepest depths of the burrow», a film about Street Art and Graffiti —

What makes art valuable?

Picasso’s Last Stand —

The Challenge: a tribute to modern art —

Great piece on Robert Rauschenberg HERE!

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Art and literature must not become static.

«If art and literature become static then the creative impulse dies. Some in the ‘old literary guard’ seriously need to consider retirement. Teaching the history of literature is an honorable profession. Requiring new authors to continue writing as previous generations is not. We live in a different world, and we have a different mindset. What was ‘rebellious and revolutionary’ in their youth is now often ballast around our necks.»

Restricting “new voices” and “new ways of writing” will only result in hard times:

SATURN’S BLUES.

when the moon is in Fresno

and the sun sets a purplish

haze over early-autumn skies,

the cold winds of Hell

breathe heavily against

the hopes of local heroes

and the women who made them.

farmers stare off into the fields

without realizing, and housewives

pull their young close to their

bosoms – suddenly and

without explanation.

intuitively they sense the onset

of a long and severe influence;

a time of hardship and hindrance

when the faith and courage of

more than a few good men

and women are put to test.

the carousel is out-of-control,

and in the whirlwind confusion

crops will fail, loved ones will

pass away, jobs will be lost

and the simplest of dreams will

be stifled by saturn’s blues:

a mocking nursery rhyme telling

of horror and despair, and sung

over and over again with endless

variations on the same cruel theme.

— Adam Donaldson Powell