Interview by Jill Campbell Mackay
A pain in the arts
Fed up with art that matches the curtains? A new movement, set up in Paphos, aims at challenging accepted norms
The question many people ask at least once in their life is ‘How do you tell good art from bad?’ Almost anything can be art, but how does it become ‘art’? Are we, as the audience, being fooled or have we just been taken for granted over the years and been hoodwinked by exhibitions featuring increasingly outrageous exhibits?
Of course, artists have had an obligation to provide us with new experiences and knowledge, art has always been controversial, one of its functions is to test and question. But, there’s a visual litany of tat being exhibited under the banner of art. Most of it should, by rights, come under the domain of interior design, which is but a single branch of the arts not the tree. Many of today’s so called ‘artists’ are producing the sort of superficial stuff you buy to match the curtains and the sofa.
Seeking to redress the balance is an art movement recently established in Paphos by Nic Costa, Jemima Puddleduck, Emilio Zapotek and the Divine Mother Hubbard. The Idiosynchronist Movement has already generated healthy international interest from a number of artists who slowly but surely have seen their talent and technical skills diminished by these ‘canvas pretenders’. It aims to challenge the art to please not to ponder that is currently being exhibited in and around our towns and cities.
Nic Costa has now firmly nailed his colours to the mast with this new art movement.
But is he just an angry young man taking a punt at being controversial or does this movement really mean something? “It’s certainly something I feel passionate about, and intend to press home our manifesto, which is basically to get people to think out of the box as far as art is concerned, to re-examine what the artist’s role in society should be and how we can promote art as it should be promoted and not as some pleasing or puerile set of patterns,” he says.
“Most contemporary abstraction is merely accidentally decorative, and has no other function, it’s basically a rolling dice with little meaning and very little substance, and many so called famous exponents of this ‘art’ have effectively led us down a blind alley, so, all we are expected to do these days is to please a third party, and that’s not being an artist, because to always please the eye is to effectively paralyse the brain.
Our art should question our perceptions of the world and those around us, it should come from the gut, from formal training and from fully embracing a discipline”.
Looking at the art created by Nic and fellow members Magdalena Wisnieska and Emilio Zapotek, the work certainly stands out from the norm and in the case of Nic’s work, one seriously doubts Ikea would be on the phone to ask him for the rights to turn his somewhat controversial paintings into limited edition prints.
“I would be deeply upset if someone ever said my work was ‘nice’. That’s really the last word in insults as far as I am concerned, my work is my art and many will say it’s horrible, others will say it’s frightening, and many will think about it, then come back and think again”.
The artists involved are indeed talented, they also know and understand their mediums, are on that essential edge of madness that we should all try and get to if genuinely interested in drawing out one’s creative guts, and who have art as their vocation. This is art that really does challenge the establishment.