Art has its source in the life of worship. Only in the relatively short time span of human history has art ceased to be anything other than a ceremonial or devotional object. Art was until then the manifestation of a mystical or inspired experience. As such, the word inspiration is directly linked to the divine essence, someone inspired was a person who was in contact with higher entities, whether angels or God himself (the gods a fortiori in animist cults).
Inspiration today is only the expression of an individuality detached from its spiritual context. A person inspired can be as much by the celestial spirit as by the demonic one in the end. This decorrelation between art and the divine is undoubtedly the source of a corruption and a deviation from the initial function of what makes us truly human.
The title of this article is somewhat provocative, nevertheless it summarizes well the confusion which exists today: art is not any more a production which emanates from the sacred, it became deeply prosaic.
There are various manifestations of this desacralized report to the art, it can be its purely mercantile dimension, its report to the expression of the darkest passions or the projection of a purely egotic desire.
The art as trade
If there is well a transformation of scale which crossed the art since many centuries already, it is well its merchandising. Sometimes it was the spoils of robbery or war, sometimes it was a currency of exchange at times when gold was scarce. If there is indeed a process that leads to the desecration of a ceremonial object, it is to give it a quantifiable value. In principle, everything that touches the sacred has no price. To want to evaluate the value of a good is to make it comparable to a thousand others having the same price. To this first desecration and predation, which could exist during episodes of conflict between several belligerents, is added the will to profit from this juicy trade.
Since the demand is great and the art objects are limited because of their original non-commercial use, it is quite interesting to produce or have produced similar objects which however have no spiritual function.
The lure of profit creates the need to feed the demand. Craft, a distant cousin of art, is more pragmatic because it consists of designing objects that are both functional and aesthetic. Progressively but surely, a confusion is established in the very notion of art. Is there a functional purpose underlying every art object? Or is every object that makes you think an artistic object in itself? The religious function has disappeared to give way to the intellectual and utilitarian dimension of an object. The Homo spiritus becomes Homo faber or Sapiens.
Art as the product of a catharsis
If we understand well, art at its origin is the fruit of a transcendental journey in which one went to meet the divine. Back from these inspired peregrinations, the artist produced a work which had for vocation to arouse or awaken the divine feeling present in everyone, in a latent way at least.
Today, it is rather the opposite, the artist does not undertake any spiritual journey, he is very often bothered or devoured by his deep passions which can lead him to a whole kind of harmful tendencies. The work he creates is not the fruit of a contact with the best dimension of himself, on the contrary, it is more his vile or even diabolical nature that is expressed. There is thus a true corruption of the function of art: one does not seek any more to be a positive guide for the others, the artist wishes on the contrary to attract the spectator in his blackness and his confusion that he tries to camouflage by the superficial ennoblement that allows the use of the word “art”. Art, in most cases, is only a perversion of what it once was. As such, it would be entirely appropriate to use a different word to designate completely opposite phenomena.
Beyond the simple cathartic by-product, art has become the ultimate expression of an egotic desire. To exist, according to the highest way, is to realize oneself, to say who one is in the world. For that, nothing better than to do it via the art, which still enjoys a prestige in spite of all the deviations of which it was the object. Art is no longer the abandonment of oneself in front of the divine, it is rather the forgetting of the divine to make an affirmation of oneself as an expression of individuality and an act of accomplishment in a society that values singularity even if it is tinged with vanity.
On closer inspection, this may only be a description of failed artists. Those who still shine today, even if the religious or spiritual function is no longer there, have preserved a certain authenticity and a form of purity that is the mark of their abnegation in front of the art that they continue to sacralize. The true artists are not all dead, there are still a plethora of them who play, paint, write, sculpt, dance or sing, having in mind only to talk about the beauty they have encountered. It is difficult to judge the sincerity of a spiritual seeker, however, if what he or she says or does arouses your nobility, then you have the right to think that this man or woman is a humble servant of the divine.