MANIFESTO OF VISIONARY ART

visions. The aim is to make the painterly medium as invisible as possible, so that the image itself is presented im-mediately to the viewer.
      While the vision, and its faithful reproduction in image-form, are of primary importance in Visionary art, the use of different methods and techniques naturally bring about different results. Many of the more recognized Visionaries practise some variation of the Mischtechnik (Fuchs, Brauer, Hausner, Klarwein, De Es, Venosa, et al). This technique approximates, as much as possible, the lost techniques of the Old Masters (Jan van Eyck, Jean Fouquet). Fuchs gradually developed its fundamentals after a reading of Doerner (The Materials of the Artist), conversations with other artists (Annegoni) and some disastrous experiments.
      Like other members of the Fantastic Realists, he possessed a strong desire to paint once more like the Old Masters: "I remember how, as a quintet, the five of us stood before Hugo van der Goes' Adam and Eve and made a silent vow to acquire the art of painting in the same manner as this artist. At the beginning, it went very bad for all of us, as we had no direct predecessor to reveal the secrets of Old Master's painting." (103)
      The methods and effects of the Mischtechnik which Fuchs finally developed are as follows. In principle, the painting is built up in a series of alternating layers between white egg-tempera emulsion and colour oleo-resinous glazes. First of all, a dark, coloured ground is laid down over the drawing (the imprimatura - usually in red, violet, or caput mortuum) and the forms are then defined using a white egg-tempera emulsion (laid into the wet ground). Hence, the artist concentrates soley on the tonal value of the object, building up its volume, texture, plasticity, line etc - in the absence of colour. Opalescence is important here -



 
 
 


L. CARUANA

a fine hatching of lines or else a semi-transparent stipling that creates 'optical greys' - which allow the underlying colours to interract with the subsequent colour glazes.
       So much for the technique, as described thus far. Of greater interest are the visionary states it may induce in the artist. Through the whites, the artist can lose himself in a numinous play of luminosity - achieving such iridescent effects as haloes, radiance, back-lighting, silhouettes, the illusion of semi-transparent beings or - indeed - total immersion into blinding white light.
      Returning to the technique, the artist then lays down a coloured glaze thinly and semi-transparently (even lifted off with the palm of the hand) over the egg tempera. As a result, the newly-added colour sits fairly intact atop the opaque areas of white while, in the more opalescent areas, it creates a strong interraction between upper and lower layers of colour. By adding new layers of white egg tempera emulsion between succeeding colour glazes (to lay a foundation for new colours), the process may be repeated indefinitely.
      Just as alchemy traditionally passed through four distinctive colour stages in the opus (the nigredo, albedo, cauda pavonis, and rubedo), so does the Mischtechnik, in its most basic form, move through four corresponding stages: the red of the imprimatura, followed by the yellow of the first glaze, then by the blue of a second glaze, and finally by the 'local colours', depending on the object to be rendered. In short, the vision of the beholder passes through red, yellow and blue - the three primary colours from which all others are constituted - followed by a variety of local colours - like a peacock's tail - so that all ultimately combine in his mind into a radiant, gem-like whole.
      More advanced practitioners of the Mischtechnik have experimented with a variety of



 
 
 


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