Page 64 – 65 / 1941 – 42
Left Hand Page
‘The Chunkel’, camp magazine, ‘Art Today’ by Ronald Searle.
Why are the masses so completely out of touch with the ART OF TO-DAY? There seems to be a general inability to comprehend art beyond academic or photographic representation. Why are the public chary of accepting a movement that has advanced progressively for almost a century? Is the artist at fault or is his public in such a state of apathy that they are loathe to exert themselves to meet him even half way?
We hope in this series of short articles to answer these and many similar questions and stimulate a greater interest in a movement of such importance, so closely inter-related with our twentieth century literature and music, that its ultimate effect at the moment cannot be ascertained.
Firstly then, what is art? As soon an anyone asks the question one realises the futility of trying to answer with a nutshell definition. Art is a record of emotion felt and exhibited through any medium. This is like saying, what are women? And answering the female human. Nevertheless it is possible to analyse art or a number of critics of importance are obtaining their money under false pretenses.
Art is a product of something in man which urges him to create. Great art is that which can arouse in the beholder the same splendid emotion that urged the artist to creation. We are all capable of art. The biggest philistine among us has at some time in his life aroused deep emotion in some woman he has loved, in some child or in a friend. To call this art is perhaps stretching it and yet in its embryonic form is the same activity which on a higher plane produces the theater emotions of a Bernhard or the power of a head by Epstein. Art is the sublimation of sex using that much abused term in the Freudian sense to mean the life force, the Libido, the deep central motive power of mankind. The appreciation of art is also active. It demands of the observer that he shall put something into the observing. That is why great art is unintelligible to the great mass of people. They are not prepared to meet a painter or a thinker, or an actor, or an author even half way. The art of the twentieth century is the cinema, and it has to be prostituted and diluted, so that its effusions may wash over a supine audience who just lay back with their mouths open. This is the besetting sin of our time. The decay of metal activity. The divorcement of the observer from the artistic process of which he is as such a part as the artist himself.
Right Hand page
‘The Chunkel’, camp magazine, ‘Art Today’ (cont.) and ‘Drooling at the Flying Dutchman’ by George Sprod.
They are not prepared to meet a painter or a thinker, or an actor, or an author even half way. The art of the twentieth century is the cinema, and it has to be prostituted and diluted, so that its effusions may wash over a supine audience who just lay back with their mouths open. This is the besetting sin of our time. The decay of metal activity. The divorcement of the observer from the artistic process of which he is as such a part as the artist himself.
DROOLING AT THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
It has been noticed that gurgling noises, smacking of lips, and other sound indicative of relish, have been proceeding from the Flying Dutchman during the past few days.
These are not produced as one might suppose by the usual display of love-me-for-evers and other high-priced dainties, but are the reactions of those unable to retrain their animal passions at the sight of the Searle and Sprod murals which are growing apace on the walls.
Starting from the slaying of a juvenile Wobbygong by a Stone Age warrior, and continuing right up to the grim present, these pictures are amazing all beholders by their life-like representation of their central theme – food. It no doubt causes a twinge to view Hector regaling himself with ice-cream sundaes on the plains of windy Troy, Henry VIII and his paramour wading into turkey at Hampton Court, and a company of medieval lechers seeking to drink their lady friend under the table by plying her with liquor in a small sized tub, but it is important no bear in mind that pre-meal starvation can only be allayed by coffee and ongles – not by such airy trifles.
To sacrifice the reality for a shadow in this times is to court an empty feeling. Grab therefore your coffee firmly in your shaking hand, clamp a tamarin tart between your drooling jaws and consider – pastel has an lawful funny taste.