aesthetics, Andrés Ginestet, art blog, art criticism, artistic intuition, élan vital, Claudia Moscovici, contemporary art, duration, Henri Bergson, phenomenology, philosophical art, photography, postromanticism.com, Reflections in Time: The Philosophical Art of Andrés Ginestet, Romanticism and Postromanticism
Almost every artistic movement that makes an impact has a philosophy behind it, or rather, along with it. To change the way people view objects—which is what revolutionary art does—you need to also shift the way they think. I’d like to share with you today the philosophical art of Andrés Ginestet. Influenced by Henri Bergson’s notions of duration, élan vital, intuition and creativity, Andrés Ginestet presents viewers not merely with images, reflections, sculptures, but also with a whole new phenomenological experience of artistic production.
The philosopher Henri Bergson regarded creativity as a newness which is not predetermined by mechanistic forces. He placed emphasis upon aesthetic intuition in generating new objects and new ways to look at life, creatively. For him, the concept of time, or duration, was not deterministic. In other words, time is not just a sequence of predictable moments, one following the other. Rather, duration is heterogeneous, influenced by countless possible activities and agents, the product of our free will as human beings. Bergson presented a very empowering understanding of time for artists. Perhaps what influenced Ginestet’s art most is Bergson’s concept of élan vital, or vital energy, which offers its own theory of evolution. Human beings are individuals but at the same time part of the indivisible energy of life itself: singular yet whole.
It’s difficult to give artistic expression to abstract philosophical concepts and still have mass appeal for viewers, to engage them to process such ideas through art. Andrés Ginestet takes this challenge and meets it spectacularly well. To offer just one example that you can view on his website, http://ginestet.imago.de/, Ginestet’s photography translates philosophy into an understated and provocative play of mirror reflections in time.
The colors are quiet, autumnal: one could even say timeless. Soft tans, browns and muted greens surround the paleness of the nude female figures: colors that evoke, as the artist states, the anguish of the act of creating. These works of art transgress genres: they’re photographs, of course, but also sculptural, painterly, philosophical and sometimes the artist adds perfume to the mix, to give viewers a fuller phenomenological experience of artistic creativity. Ginestet’s reflected images don’t draw attention to themselves through either shape or color. What strikes the viewer’s eye is the stark simplicity of the nudes, representing, as the artist suggests, the gestation of humanity itself: throughout time, yet also individuated, naked and vulnerable, each image seeking its own mirror reflections and echoes in the glass structures through which we, ourselves, can view them.
Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com