International Day Without Art
Every 20th January since 2010
Video by Gregor Kuschmirz
International Day without Art is an art project to reflect on the role of art in contemporary society, on the urge of art existence and on the use and abuse the society of the spectacle is doing of it.
The project in its most basic implementation consists in the designation of one day of the calendar in which everybody in the arts are invited to avoid any activity related to art: on the 20th of January each year, participant artists and organisations suspend their art activities for a day. International Day without Art is a project for people deeply involved in Art. It is a celebration for those who do not need the "Day of the Museum" or the "Art Gallery Open Doors Day" decoys, as they visit regularly and intensively many art places.
What's the interest of an International Day without Art?
There is a need for reflection on the meaning and importance of the arts in the lives of artists and contemporary society. This cannot be done while frenetically producing shows and trying desperately to get visitors into the museums.
To negate for one day the logical and natural trend of promoting the use and enjoyment of art, unveils the implantation and functioning of cultural and artistic structures in society.
The Museum's Open Days and other initiatives for the celebration and promotion of the arts are addressed mainly to an audience reluctant to take part in the cultural life. Those are necessary to stimulate, encourage and help them to find enjoyment and education in art. There are actions for people who are NOT interested in art. International Day without Art is dedicated to people who live daily for and into art. For one day they wish to see the object of their labour and passion with some perspective.
Why the 20th of January has been chosen for the celebration of IDwA?
On the 20th of January of 1817 Henri-Marie Beyle "Stendhal" entered the city of Florence and suddenly he felt "grown incapable of rational thought, but rather surrendered to the sweet turbulence of fancy, as in the presence of some beloved object". He wrote that "the tide of emotion which overwhelmed me flowed so deep that it scarce was to be distinguished from religious awe".
This incident has been used as a symptomatic paradigm of a psychological condition described as "a collection of emotional dysfunctions aroused by the contemplation of beauty". This condition has been named "Stendhal Syndrome".
The fact that this date has been selected as the ideal for IDwA contains contradictory elements of homage and denunciation. However, overall considerations are pointing to the capacity of this date to provoke reflection about a sinister character of art: that one of coming over all rational thought on those who practice it.