ART WITHIN THE 7TH ART

The impact of cinema was, since its invention, the prelude to a whole discipline that continues to this day in constant evolution. The strength of the image and the appeal of the visual narrative has come to displace in many schools of arts the interest for more traditional forms of artistic expression. The world of contemporary creation did not escape this trend, and cinema, already consecrated as such, has been opening the way to other experimental forms that use the moving image as the main language.

René Magritte, “The Son of Man”, 1964

Frame from the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair”, 1999

We continue today talking about the 7th art as an unmistakable label to designate the cinema, without knowing very well where the classification comes from and what are the other previous six arts. Although classifying-tradition goes back to the time of ancient Greece, cradle par excellence of an artistic and technical wealthiness, and which also has rich mythology-stories to cover explanations for all kinds on the deeds of humanity, at that time the categorisation of the arts was based on combining both intellectual and physical aspects, resulting in enumerations that today are difficult for us to understand. Afterwards, the Romans assimilated this same tradition. Cicero spoke of three orders of arts: "Major Arts": military policy and strategy; "Medium Arts": science, poetry and rhetoric, and "Minor Arts": painting, sculpture, music, performance and athletics.

Left: Frame from “Meet Joe Black”, 1998 / Right: Mark Rothko, “Blue, Orange, Red”, 1961 (image from ©wikiart)

After many changes over the centuries, the classification handled today was established by the Italian artist Ricciotto Canudo in his treatise "Manifesto of the seven arts", of 1911, where he fixes this order as follows: 1) architecture, 2 ) sculpture, 3) painting, 4) music 5) poetry/literature, 6) dance and 7) cinema, list that has recently been enlarged with new disciplines such as photography, comics, video games, costumes or theater.

Goya, “Saturn Devouring His Children”, 1819-1823 (image from ©wikimedia)

Frame from the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, 2010

Beyond classifications, perhaps the cinema contains the potential to be a totalising art. Its capacity to refer all the other disciplines, to self-refer as well, and to be a vehicle of expression to which many multidisciplinary artists resort at one moment or another allows numerous readings and re-readings of the works. The seduction of the image tempts everyone and offers endless possibilities to capture new audiences and play with the fantasy of fiction. At the same time, it contains an accessible language and is an excellent way to recreate what has never been seen, what is not known or what has never existed.

Kandinsky, designs for “Der Blaue Reiter” almanac, 1911 (image from ©sammlungonline.lenbachhaus.de)

Frame from the film “Double jeopardy”, 1999.

Within this path of "meta-art", we bring you some examples of films that refer to other pieces of art, not necessarily in films dedicated to the life of artists, as well as productions made by creators that ridicule the media impact of cinema itself. This is, for example, the type of work that characterises Banksy and his piece "Exit through the gift shop", a film of the genre "false documentary" that ironises about the artist's own work and has been able to generate curious spin-off beyond the work itself. So it has happened with Mr Brainwash, a sort of Banksy’s alter ego in the film, who has become an internationally renowned pop-contemporary artist.

We remind you that CaixaForum Madrid is projecting this piece within a cycle of "Art and Cinema", on Friday 29th at 7 pm.

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.