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Remodernism is a term promulgated by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson, in an attempt to introduce a period of new spirituality into art, culture and society to replace Postmodernism, which they accused of being spiritually bankrupt and cynical. Its premise is that the potential of the Modernist vision has not been fulfilled, that its development has been in the wrong direction and that this vision needs to be reclaimed, redefined and redeveloped. It advocates the search for truth, knowledge and meaning, and challenges formalism. The ideas were announced in a manifesto "Remodernism".


[edit] Manifesto

The Remodernism manifesto was published by the Stuckists art group (founded by Thomson and Childish to promote vision, authenticity and self-expression through painting). It is dated March 1, 2000 and subtitled "towards a new spirituality in art". It has a short introduction, summing up: "Modernism has progressively lost its way, until finally toppling into the bottomless pit of Postmodern balderdash".

This is followed by 14 numbered points, stressing bravery, individuality, inclusiveness, communication, humanity and the perennial against nihilism, scientific materialism and the "brainless destruction of convention". Point 7 states:

Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.

Point 9 states: "Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity's quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists." Point 12 links its use of the word "God" to enthusiasm—from the Greek root en theos (to be possessed by God).

The summary at the end starts, "It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry", and finds the solution is a spiritual renaissance because "there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism's mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now."[1]

[edit] Activities

In March 2000 The Stuckists were declared to be the first Remodernist art group at a show The Resignation of Sir Nicholas Serota. In April, Remodernism was quoted in The Gulf News (UAE).[2] In May The Observer newspaper announced a Stuckist show:

As the founding group of a self-named art movement called Remodernism, they stand on an art ticket that's against clever conceptualism and in favour of a more emotional and spiritual integrity in art via figurative painting."[3]

In June a talk was given on Stuckism and Remodernism by Thomson and Childish at the Salon des Arts, Kensington, promoted by the Institute of Ideas.[4] The same month the "Students for Stuckism" also gave "a Remodernist show and talk". The Institute of Remodernism was founded by Dr Khatereh Ahmadi.

In 2001, Thomson stood in stood the UK general election, stating, "The Stuckist Party aims to bring the ideas of Stuckism and Remodernism into the political arena."[5]

In January 2002, graduate students (who did not state any link with the Stuckists) from the University of New Mexico staged a show ReMo or "ReModernism". At an artists' talk, Kevin Radley, an art professor at the University of California, Berkeley said, "Remodernism isn't about going backwards, but about surging forward."[6] In an essay that accompanied the exhibition, Radley wrote:

...there seems to be a re-emergence of confidence in the artist's singular voice—a renewal of the belief that an artist can explore their own natures without the restraints of the ironic, the cynical or the didactic. To re-contact the notions of presence, reinvent their sense of beauty and renew our need for intimacy.[7]

In 2003, an independent group Stuckism Photography was founded with a statement of endorsement for Remodernism.[8]

In 2004, American film makers/photographers Jesse Richards and Harris Smith co-founded a new group Remodernist Film and Photography with an emphasis on emotional meaning and characterised by elements of new-wave/no-wave/expressionist/transcendental film-making.

The world's first Remodernist art gallery was founded in Louisville, Kentucky, The Deatrick Gallery.

The Defastenists, a new group of creatives in Ireland, declared themselves to be Remodernist.

In August 2005 an art show Addressing the Shadow and Making Friends with Wild Dogs: Remodernism (taken from a line in the manifesto} was held at CBGBs 313 gallery in New York.

Some individual artists have declared themselves Remodernist, e.g. Matt Bray, who stated:

I do not wish to be considered a Stuckist, as I find some of there (sic) antics unnecessary. The Stuckists are however the first and most famous Remodernist group, so for that, and for bringing this particular manifesto to my attention; I thank them.[9]

On May 10, 2006, the Stedelijk Museum and the University of Amsterdam staged a talk on Remodernism by Daniel Birnbaum, contributing editor of Artforum, and Alison Gingeras, Assistant Curator, Guggenheim Museum. The summary is:

Recently, we have been witness to yet another resurgence of interest in painting. Should we view the revitalization of this ancient medium as a return to traditional modernist values like autonomy, authenticity and self-expression? If indeed we can speak of a return to modernism (remodernism), where will this leave multimedial and transdisciplinary practice in the arts?[10]

In August 2006, an online group called "The Remodernists of Deviantart" was founded by Clay Martin. The group is composed of artists who are active on the website

In May 2007, Remodernist artist Matt Bray, and renowned punk singer Adam Bray created the Mad Monk Collective, in order to promote Remodernism to a younger audience in the Folkestone area and online. They created free and non-profit books and fanzines to show how art could be created from love and passion rather than some desire for profit. Spirituality over Materialism.[11]

On August 27, 2008, Jesse Richards published a Remodernist Film Manifesto, calling for a "new spirituality in cinema", use of intuition in filmmaking, as well as describing the remodernist film as being a "stripped down, minimal, lyrical, punk kind of filmmaking". Point 4 notes,

"The Japanese ideas of wabi-sabi (the beauty of imperfection) and mono no aware (the awareness of the transience of things and the bittersweet feelings that accompany their passing), have the ability to show the truth of existence, and should always be considered when making the remodernist film."

There are also several polemic statements made in the manifesto that criticize Stanley Kubrick, filmmakers that shoot on digital video, as well as Dogme 95 [12].

[edit] Reactions

The Stuckists' Remodernist manifesto was sent to Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery, who replied, "You will not be surprised to learn that I have no comment to make on your letter, or your manifesto "Remodernism".[13][14]

Luke Heighton wrote in The Future magazine, "Remodernism, it seems, is here to stay whether we like it or not." [15]

Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand declared 2004: "A good year for: remodernism - for having the gall to suggest that artists can have souls." [16]

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Childish, Billy, and Thomson, Charles. "Remodernism",, March 1, 2000. Accessed September 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Lethbridge, Lucy (2000)"Letter from London" The Gulf News, May 14, 2000. Accessed April 29, 2006
  3. ^ Sumpter, Helen (2000)"Go see... the Stuckists" The Observer, May 14, 2000. Accessed April 29, 2006
  4. ^ "Stella Vine meets (and joins) the Stuckists" Accessed April 29, 2006
  5. ^ "The Stuckist Party: Manifesto 2001" pdf accessed from Keele University website, April 29, 2006.
  6. ^ Medina, Valerie J. (2002)"Modern art surges ahead:¡Magnifico! features new artistic expression" Daily Lobo, January 17, 2002. Accessed April 29, 2006
  7. ^ Radley, Kevin (2002)"RE MODernism: Trajectories towards the NU Modern", January 1, 2002. Accessed April 29, 2006
  8. ^ "The Stuckists Photographers", Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool. Accessed September 12, 2007.
  9. ^ Bray, Matt (2006)"Art Portal: Matt Bray 2006" Accessed April 29, 2006
  10. ^ "Right about now: Remodernism"University of Amsterdam. Accessed April 29, 2006
  11. ^ Mad Monk (2007)"Mad Monk"Mad Monk Books. Accessed May 2008
  12. ^ "Remodernist Film Manifesto", When The Trees Were Still Real, August 27, 2008 Retrieved September 1, 2008
  13. ^ "Stuck on the Turner Prize: Send in the clowns" Glasgow University. Accessed April 29, 2006
  14. ^ Kennedy, Maeve "Shock of the old as paint returns to the Turner Prize", The Guardian, October 24, 2000. Accessed September 12, 2007.
  15. ^ Heighton, Luke (2004)"Dead Painters Society"The Future. Accessed April 29, 2006
  16. ^ from "The triumphs and turkeys of 2004"The Guardian, December 16, 2004. Accessed April 29, 2006

[edit] References

  • Ed. Katherine Evans (2000), "The Stuckists" Victoria Press, ISBN 0-907165-27-3
  • Ed. Frank Milner (2004), "The Stuckists Punk Victorian" National Museums Liverpool, ISBN 1-902700-27-9

[edit] External links

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