VISIONARY REVUE


      And yet, like shamans trying to catch a shape-shifting spirit, so may the essence of Visionary art at first escape us but eventually be grasped. Random writes:
      "The unusual may dissolve into the fantastic, the fantastic into the imaginary, the imaginary into the world of images. Visionary art is above all a world of images where, not only do all substances acquire form, but so too do the spiritual and metaphysical. The image, being real, becomes a repository for the imaginary. It is an image in the sense that it offers us a vision of what is both actual and possible. To accomplish this is the highest aim of Visionary art."(2)
      In his most succinct summary, the writer concludes: "In its own way, Visionary Art makes the visible and the invisible a single totality." (3)
      Meanwhile, for Hervé Sérane, there are a definite number of qualities which characterize this art. "A Visionary painting is characterized by three qualities: its spiritual dimension, its timelessness, and its mastery of technique." (4)


FUSION II - Michel Henricot


 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION

      In Voyage to the edge of Modern Art, Sérane elaborates these three points. First of all, he sees the work's 'spiritual dimension' as proof of the artist's integrity and authenticity: "The spiritual dimension is what gives the work its energy. It is proof that the artist has successfully entered into contact with the deepest, most essential and authentic aspect of his being... Such a quest demands the greatest sincerity possible, and also the greatest humility (we do not insist enough on the humility necessary to create a visionary work of art). The artist's increasing awareness of this spiritual dimension allows him to continually renew himself through the miracle of creation. The artist scours all eternity in search of that mysterious path which leads to the innermost part of his being." (5)
      For Random as well, the Visionary's life-journey becomes 'a path to the absolute': "From the moment of his birth, each person is called upon to follow a path, which is to say, an unending understanding and unveiling of the invisible, of the indescribable world which we invoke and which questions us until our death. To live is thus to pursue an initiatory journey between consciousness and dreams, between 'the real which becomes a dream, and the dream which becomes reality' as the great German poet Novalis said." (6)

TIMELESSNESS

      Meanwhile, the 'timeless' quality of visions automatically disqualifies l'Art Visionnaire from its status as a contemporary movement. Sérane is adamant on this point. Visionary art lies 'beyond modernity':
      "Situating itself outside of all trends and fashions, the visionary work of art concentrates on the essential, which is to say, on the portion of eternity alloted to each of us... This impression of eternity and its sense of time 'momentarily held still' can only be acquired through vision. The Visionary artist enters into communion with the universe as a whole. His visions come from a time and place far beyond the limits of 'modernity'."


 
 
 


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