Great art has been made through time in many different ways and with diverse purposes. It has been created as protest and as propaganda, to disturb and calm, to question and express.
Henri Matisse said that he dreamed with a kind of art “free of problematic or depressing themes… that exerts on the mind a soothing effect; something like a good couch”. His close friend Picasso, who often took pleasure in the darkest aspects of human emotions, wasn’t particularly political in his art either. However, in the mid-1930s, during a creativity fever, Picasso painted a dramatic protest against the bombing of Guernica in the same black and white hues of a newspaper, probably inspired by his revolutionary Mexican friend Diego Rivera, or by the political series “The disasters of the war” by his countryman Francisco Goya.
Nowadays there are many contemporary artists who address and deal with the hottest issues of our political era in their art. One of them is Bernardo Eisen, a Filipino artist living in Vietnam, whose collage series All Art Is Political explores how the interaction of media, art and history influences our social and political condition.
In a careful and thoughtful way, the artist combines magazine covers and classical art paintings to create a strongly dialectical collection that certainly offers much food for thought.
Eisen has stated that through this series he found a way of expressing and releasing his own feelings of frustration over the constant flow of depressing news that portray the current state of the world.
By juxtaposing magazine covers and classical artworks, I was able to express the way I feel about various political and social issues without being overly biased.Bernardo Eisen