What else can be new in art? We are so accustomed to those artists who vainly agonize in their desperate search for new metamorphoses of aesthetics that we come to another delicate question: has art just become… empty? If so, does it still really matter? Although apparently the animation signed by Björn Granberg Ahlmark doesn’t openly deal with such philosophical issues, this short (black) comedy is based on a series of dilemmas regarding the fate (or failure) of contemporary art, but also on the notion of public reception. It would seem that, by denying the capacity of the visual arts to reinvent themselves, the director would also risk denying the very justification of his own project. And yet, it’s hard to say whether the title ‘Art is Angst‘ has an ironic intent or not, since it’s almost impossible not to notice a touch of cynicism in the way the characters are constructed.

 

More precisely, inspired by the “Années folles” elements or by the prototype of the “damned artist”, the creator offers us a slightly caricatured version of the painter-model relationship, in a succession of grotesque-like images that break the conventions of classical beauty. In other words, this animation about the new valences of beauty is rather based on the characters’ deformity, while the director combines the painter’s torments and the model’s blasé sick-and-tired attitude, in a deliberately hilarious panorama of the artistic labour process. Likewise, the dialogue has been replaced by physiological sounds, helpless or condescending chuckles, bursts of anger or outbursts of “artistic genius”. In a way, in this acoustic cacophony we can perceive the director’s response to this new form of self-illusion in front of an art that, in essence, is as deformed as it is sterile.

 

Indeed, Björn Granberg Ahlmark may not find the most original solution to the storyline, but this fact could also be justified precisely by the subtextual stake of the project: the new art has exhausted its resources of originality. This creative vacuum can, however, be ameliorated by a cynical perspective, as is the animation ‘Art is Angst’. But what is beyond this cynicism? Hard to say. Maybe just Angst.

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