It strikes me how many young Dutch artists, having graduated at an academy and starting their own practice, present themselves with activities that focus on social targets rather than artistic goals.
It’s no news that since the 18th century a number of famous artists - from Voltaire, Zola and Brecht to Bob Dylan - had a great impact on social movements and politics. But these celebrities never had the intention to be a rebel or the leader of a revolution. Only their drive to create great art was propelled by social motives. Whereas nowadays young people with an artistic ambition seem to feel obliged to figure out concepts for social change in the first place, and consider artistic methods and techniques only as the main vehicle for that ambition. Isn't that a shame? 


Sometimes I google “Lars Spuybroek + abstraction” to see if perhaps someone shares my comment on his interpretation of “modern abstract art”.
It turns out that virtually every review of his latest book “the sympathy of things” confines itself to Spuybroek’s interpretation and promotion of  ideas that were developed in the 19th century by the English philosopher John Ruskin. These ideas are focussed on the necessity of physical identification of the artist with the object of his work, in order to create living and lasting beauty. Very inspiring ideas actually, and certainly deserving the attention and interest of artists working with the digital tools of our time, like the architect Lars Spuybroek. So no wonder that reviewers tend to focus on this historical aspect of his book. 
But isn’t it the first duty of criticism to look for the new, personal and original ideas of the author himself ? And isn’t it self-evident that the notion “modern abstract art” is a first point of interest and curiosity for professor Spuybroek’s ambitious young university-students in Atlanta USA? So how the heck is it possible that only one Dutch morning paper, and not a single English academic magazine, paid attention to the fact that Spuybroek calls abstract art “a horrible dogma”?

A second look.

Art personalizes the general. That’s the opposite of abstraction, I concluded in my blog of  November 2011. And I still maintain the accuracy of this statement. But  I also maintain what I said in the concept-page of this website: that there is no certainty but uncertainty, nothing is what it seems to be, and everything is one, two, three.
Therefore I think it’s time to turn to the reversal, which is equally true: Art generalizes the personal. It raises the volatility of an anecdote to the validity of a parable. Doesn’t that mean that art still is abstraction after all?
No, I don’t think so. Abstraction is only possible by depriving the subject of sentimental, emotional and individual features, in order to reduce it to a general, impersonal meaning. Whereas art is only possible when it enables anybody to identify personally with it, by kindling feeling and recognition. That’s still the opposite of abstraction. Abstract art still doesn’t exist and never will.