by Andrej Tisma

Art is a result of inspiration, and inspiration has a spiritual nature. So art is in its base spiritual activity. If we would like to define art in short we could say that it is the communication of the human with the sense of existence, the discovering of deep secrets, penetrating to the source of things. The artist is, in this case, a mediator between that source and the receiver.
The theme of the art work, technique, style, are just the means for communication with the audience. They have been changing throughout history from epoch to epoch, from artist to artist. The artist's only true problem through history was to chose the form of mediation, but most often that form, together with the content, was imposed by the society in which he used to live. Since primitive society it was religion and its institutions, and from the l7th century secular authorities, their philosophy of life and science. But gradually the artist was increasing the space for implementation of his individuality into creation.

Still, religion, as an eminently spiritual sphere, has made the deepest impact on art. Namely, since man is in existence he is followed equally by art and religion, which are interwoven till our times, dominating alternately the human conscience in most historical epochs.

In primitive society the two fields were unbreakably linked with everyday life, with the hunters' activities, agriculture, fertility, healing etc. In the personality of the tribe-magician, the priest and the artist were joined and had direct relations with natural forces and daily or seasonal events.
In the later epochs, from Ancient Egypt to Renaissance, art has served as the visualization of ruling ideologies. In this pre-modern time, the artist was illustrating what the ruling class wanted to transmit to other society members, through artwork whose themes and styles were determined and canonized. In that phase, the artist was communicating with nature and society always with some ruling ideology on his mind. In that period art was treated mostly as handicraft which should be learnt for better service. The main characteristics of those artists was their modesty, anonymity and serving to the system. The early cultures had temples in which they presented worshipped beings, and in  the Middle Ages canonized religious themes.

Since Renaissance, when painted image became independent from architecture, as an object for itself, the artist gradually moved away from the state's ideologies and becomes more and more individual, what we can see mostly in Romanticism.

In the 20th century Modern art the artist is completely independent, and the artwork reaches such autonomy towards reality that it became an object for itself. Now the artist is not communicating with reality through the artwork, but is communicating WITH his artwork which is a sum of visual and other elements. The artist removes from the reality, so we have directions such as abstract painting, enformel, constructivism, concretism. The Modern art is characterized by formal and technological researches, which makes the artwork - reality for itself, more complex and independent. In this historical period spirituality was pushed into the background by formalism. The typical for that time is occurrence of collage and assemblage techniques where the trace of the human hand is irrelevant and everything is depersonalized.

Finally we come to the new phase, to the so called mental and spiritual art. In the 60's we witnessed the phase when the creative act prominently retires into the creator's mental sphere. He do not communicate with his own artwork neither, but he is developing relations in the sphere of ideas. The so called dematerialization of the art object occurs. The conceptual art has a prominent role, and its embryo can be found in the beginning of the 20th century, in the art of Marcel Duchamp. The artist's idea becomes relevant, and not its materialization, craft, or virtue. In that way the very harmful commodity relation in the art market is also surmounted. The mental art has initiated and sharpened the question of art's sense and place in the society.

In the mental art, where spirituality is getting a more significant place, the artist is communicating with his own concepts, and is expressing himself more often using schemes, texts, diagrams or arranging found objects, ready-mades. Craftsmanship is completely neglected, all the more so because the modern technology: computers, video systems, photography, means of telecommunication enables easy expression by just pressing the button. What comes into the front plan is the human being, its mental structure, suggestiveness, behaviour, affecting the environment. New art forms are coming into being which are neglecting aesthetics and are approaching THE ETHICS. They are more and more resembling the manifestations of everyday life, and they are transforming life into a form of art. Happenings, performances, body-art, video-art, mail-art, eco-art are just a few forms of the mental art of our time. They are leading the spectator towards more complex and intensive experiences of his own existence, orienting him towards essential laws of existence, in a direct and vivid manner.

Since the artistic inspiration, for which we said in the beginning that it is the base of every art work, has a spiritual nature, the ideal form of art is the direct transmission of the inspiration or enlightenment into the spectator. By a mental resonance the spectator is led to a state of fascination, the same as the artist, and he experiences the same passion of unity with the source and essence of existence - what is by definition the origin of art. Such experiences, where the artist is directly transmitting his inspiration, can rightfully be named spiritual art.

The spiritual art generates from ancient experiences of meditation, magic, telepathy which today's science is dealing with, and is induced by knowledge in contemporary biology (the theory of Morphogenetic fields) and physics (holographic paradigm). The spiritual art is performed by spiritually purified persons which function as mediator between the laws of existence and the recipient. The artwork is manifested in the spheres of spiritual interchange, of resonance between people. In this form of creativity, the artist is communicating with the collectively unconscious, with spiritual potentials of the whole universe. He is radiating inspiration to the surroundings, changing the state of minds of recipients and the entire spiritual milieu. The spiritual artist is inspiring the sense of existence by his activities, changing the everyday life into an unlimited and eternal work of art.

In this phase of development of art and spirituality, these two fields are merging, enabling artist and priest to exist in one person again, as in prehistoric times. The humankind has made a huge circle, thousands of years long and has approach to the innocent state, when the genuine nature is given back to men, and when the spirituality is fertilizing every moment of existence.