On Techspressionism by Patrick Lichty
“Every work of art is the child of its time, often it is the mother of our emotions.”
-W. Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art.
As Kandinsky wrote, art is the result of the culture from which it arises, as a product of time and context. Kandinsky, one of the first German Expressionists and co-founder of Der Blaue Rider (The Blue Rider) group, resonates with the recurrence of the idea of expressionist thought in modern and contemporary art. With AbEx, NeoEx and now Techspressionism (a neologism formulated as a portmanteau of technological and expressionism) this recurrence of the affective in 20th and 21st century art speaks to Kandinsky’s axiom which includes our emotions. But what questions does Techspressionism answer?
Most organized movements are reactions to a set of social conditions, such as the constant ‘now’ of the contemporary, as Rohit Goel described in an Alserkal Avenue seminar in 2019 in Dubai. He also pointed to the work of Suhail Malik of Goldsmiths, who discussed the problems of the depths of the analytical tradition in contemporary art. What Malik suggests is that there is a ‘sameness’ to contemporary art, as art fairs and biennials have enforced certain rules. The effect of this is the apparent removal of agency by the artist from the intuitive, or affective gesture.
If one follows the introduction of new media art in the mid-2000’s, this could suggest an adoption of the cultural modes of contemporary communication.
If, following Kandinsky, Goel, and Malik, digital and new media art are trapped in the endless, analytical ‘now’, perhaps the cultural hole created is for a genuine emotional expression of the artist. This might be the “shadow self” of the contemporary art world, and the place where emotional engagement can return agency through a sense of authenticity. Perhaps Techspressionism’s sense of community and free expression fills one of the gaps in the contemporary, and allows art to re-situate itself in its own time; its own place.
Winona MN USA
View this artist’s work included in the exhibition here.