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Tomak - There is no pessimistic art

Category: Portrait 29. April 2009

Oil on canvas, drawings, texts, performances: one must work hard on compiling the techniques of artistic expression, says the Vienna-based artist Tomak. Contentment leads to comfort. But those who only want to please others do not create art, as they are not willing to sail the upwind course.

To want to advance and to be able to persist against harsh winds are both foundations of his artistic self-positioning. Art which earns the right to be called art arises from both strength and sensitivity. One must be hard and ready to fight against inertia, to be able to separate the weak from the strong. Tomak demands this attitude from himself and expects it from others. Surrender to contentment? "Why not produce something questionable, something disturbing? Off to war!"

"This most affirmative of all spirits contradicts with every word he speaks.” Nietzsche’s portrayal of the artist fits Tomak well. He likes the theatrical aspect of Nietzsche. What he hates is the urban bourgeois bohemian and provincial regulars-reserved-table-proletarian. They are also theatrical, but in the most negative sense: they feature intellect and revolt only for show, creating homeopathic art, fighting a homeopathic fight.

By definition, one exposes oneself as an artist. One cannot exclude oneself, if one wants to be taken seriously. As an artist, one must accept injuries, which are considered part of the artistic research. Tomak uses medical abstraction in order to comprehend psychological conditions. "The life one lives leaves its mark on one's face, so I portray life through portraying my face". He incorporates himself into his artwork, literally to the bone. Those who want to see do not want to be spared. As Nietzsche says, “Representing terrible and questionable things is already an instinct of the power and glory of the artist: he is not afraid of them! There is no pessimistic art. Art affirms. Job affirms." (wh/jn)

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