S H E L T E R
Project of Strontium-90 Art Group
A B O U T T R A L F R E A L I S M
The main ideas and goals of Tralfrealism, as an art movement are formulated in the Tralfrealist Manifesto. The main tenets of Tralfrealism are beauty, kindness, lightness, and open-minded view of the word; negativity, depressing or agressive content is to be generally avoided. There are no other restrictions, including, but not limited to, technique, medium, ideology, or artistic "school". However, we do welcome a deliberate departure from academic rigidity in those cases when it becomes a formal copying tool devoid of inner content.
However unusual and even strange they may appear on the first glance, tralfrealist images turn out to be full of pure light and perfect harmony or just consonant with that poetic fairy-tale childhood domain of chimerical dreams ever-present in the soul of each man, when beheld with an open heart and without superficial academic and aesthetic preconceived notions. This is not a posture, but an attitude of tralfrealist painters.
Tralf-images can be constructed based on the form of objects selected by the painter, on the color balance or geometry; they can reveal themselves through associations or allusions during the spectator's interaction with the canvas, or they can come as the result of a painter's insight. A tralf-image can appear even in the painting's name; the painting by itself then becomes a mere illustration attached to the image. In those cases we can already speak of tralf-verbal painting. The examples include "Outcasts from Paradise" and a tralfrealist still-life called "The one-and-a-half-person tea set".
While both in their form and in their intellectual content works by tralfrealists may recall surrealist art, they differ from the latter by by their manifest lack of destruction and cynicism. There is some overlapping with minimalism, but without its curtailement of subject matter, and some possible forays into the primitivist territory but without any pretenses of ostentatious "maturity". Tralfrealism also seeks to avoid aesthetic emptiness, lack of picturesqueness, and scarcity of emotion inherent in numerous other "isms".
A distinguishing feature of Tralfrealism is its notable lack of finality, a reluctance to position itself as a consummated phenomenon, whether as a school of painting or as a general artistic movement. Moreover, tralfrealists believe that in the modern world there can be no unassailable creeds and persuations cast in stone.
Historical time is now obviously compressed as never before and the dencity of earth-shattering historical events has become exceedingly high. Ancient empires lasted for millenia, feudal empires - for centuries, but the modern ones held on for merely several decades. While in the medieval times it took many generations to witness a truly significant historical event, in our own epoch there's enough time for one generation to live through a number of revolutionary cataclisms. It is sufficient to mention Chernobyl, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the appearance of global terrorist threat. Circumstances change faster than we can adjust to them. A blatant struggle for survival becomes the dominant mode of behavior.
With this breakneck pace of events, in a bustling society going through yet another disturbance and resembling a vessel with a muddy solution, one can hardly notice specks of gold that in the more stable periods had a chance to form a precious "residue" as an artistic school or movement. Under current conditions, any "end-of-formation", completeness claims about this or that artistic denomination would be too arrogant, to say the least.
It should be mentioned that unlike others, the modern society is not really "ideologically charged" but rather fixed on technology and information because this is what's usually most necessary for survival. As a result, life not only becomes dynamic and evolving but also loses its stability, its customary rhythm, and ultimately, its sense of contentment. The first obvious victims are moral and ethical values formed throughout the previous millenia. There is simply not enough time for them to leave an imprint. Culture becomes the main victim of time contraction.
To admonish against the loss of eternal moral values that have not only inspired many generations of artists but also ensured understanding, tolerance and well-being of the society, is the duty of the intelligentsia. This is yet another cogent reason for the supremacy of moral principles in tralfrealist art.
At the same time, Tralfrealism opposes a didactic, patronizing attitude in art and, specifically, in painting. Nevertheless, works of tralfrealists may contain admonitions, warnings, or call for self-improvement or an improvement of the society.
As a group of artists brought together through many years of collaboration, we are hereby anouncing the creation, growth, development, and world-wide popularization of Tralfrealism - a new trend in painting that was conceived in the XX century's early 80-s.
As a creative method of painting, Tralfrealism abides by the set of principles annunciated in this Manifesto. Most fundamental of these concern reaffirmation of an artist's creative autonomy and individual convictions, as well as his acknowledgement of basic moral, ethical and aesthetic values.
As tralfrealist artists, we stand for freedom of creation - freedom from any preordained schools, trends, styles, techniques, or materials. At the same time, we acknowledge any tralfrealist artist's inherent right to either welcome or oppose schools, techniques or styles of their particular choosing - as well as his or her right to conceive and cultivate their own styles and techniques.
We stand for the freedom of creative activity from mindlessness, amorality, spiritual poverty, and formal disembodiment. We oppose the idea of creative process's divorce from concrete form, morality, spirituality and human awareness. Yet we are also on guard against absolutist or dogmatic interpretations of these notions - as well as of any of civilization's values - as we see them fraught with rigid doxa stifling individuality along with its very creative essence.
As its innermost aesthetic, humanitarian and spiritual value, Tralfrealism unreservedly embraces Harmony which embodies a fertile concordance of other values. For its main aesthetic values Tralfrealism takes picturesqueness of form and sensuousness of color. The prototypes of tralfrealistic images and of their color content can be drawn from elements of the everyday environment, as well as from the mental universe of imagination and fantasy, which is to be seen as unconditionally existing and real in the full sense of the world. Tralfrealistic imagery may also emerge as a result of creative visualization of basic moral and ethical values endorsed by tralfrealism.
These moral and ethical values coalesce around the notions of Good, Beauty, Love, Creativity, and Humanism. Tralfrealism does not insist on the completeness of this list, nor does it assign absolute priority to any one of its values. It realizes that in the lifetime's course, the dynamics of creative endeavor involves inevitable collisions with anti-values, demanding that some of the values be sacrificed in the name of continuity of Harmony.
As a creative philosophical method, Tralfrealism does not pose as a social ideology; it proclaims its autonomy from politics and religion. Tralfrealism also refuses to serve as a mouthpiece of any political or religious ideas, ambitions, preferences and sympathies. But as a movement committed to freedom of expressing one's personal beliefs, Tralfrealism recognizes the right of participating artists to embue their works with their own ideological, political, or religios convictions.
Any artist willing to be a follower or a sympathizer of Tralfrealism must make a commitment to the freedoms and values declared in this manifesto. Any sympathizer or follower of Tralfrealism is also entitled to retain views or convictions of his own as long as they don't come into conflict with the above condition.
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