Graphics arts

Graphics arts

Graphics arts are a form of creative expression based on a media message. They use information carriers that allow a visual message to reach a wide audience. In a homogeneous social space, where everything that is important can only be acquired through the exchange of goods,[1] graphic arts enable the emergence of alternative solutions. Their usefulness lies in the skilful use of graphic techniques to propagate ideas and social views, even those that go beyond cultural patterns. This applies to both the media functions of graphics (publications, the internet, information in urban space) and the technical functions (preparation for printing, printing technology and techniques, digital images, bookbinding, sounds), as well as the artistic values ​​(drawing, painting, spatial, audio-visual), which enable the introduction of new aesthetic qualities and the shaping of reality. Graphics arts, as a separate field of art, are derived from graphic techniques. However, they are not only limited to research focused on the aesthetic exploration of printing techniques. They are based on media creations that make it possible to take account of new functions of art, including post-artistic activities.[2] Graphics arts are close to everyday life as they focus on an information message. They take on the nature of an event and expose the processual potential in opposition to the strictly defined objectivity which is responsible, among others, for inscribing artefacts into consumer culture. They participate in the process of de-objectifying creative activities by exposing the context and thus avoid treating art as a commodity.[3] In creative graphic activities, time boundaries are lost, which does not weaken the power of communication and the social usefulness of an artwork. This incidental nature of a graphic message introduces heterogeneous content and objective qualities of social behaviour into everyday life. The display of background elements (lying in the background) of a work’s structure allows the totality of a message to be built. It facilitates the linking of a creative intervention with a given social situation. Consequently, the effectiveness of the work’s influence on reality increases. The power of influence applies not only to extensive values, but also to intense ones – stimulating changes in the way of thinking and the use of new approaches in solving contemporary social problems. Graphic arts combine old printing methods with new information possibilities, with the potential for non-commercial duplication. Creative explorations focused on traditional printing technologies enable the transfer of aesthetic qualities to new media. On the other hand, the exploration of new media techniques enables the wide dissemination of creativity, through both the global scope of the activity of the carriers and the analysis of the language shaped by them. The use of synthesising forms of creative expression allows everyday elements to be combined with the objective properties of a social being. The dialectical nature of graphic activity makes it possible to authenticate the message conveyed by the very essence of a phenomenon and the way it manifests itself.

Graphic arts often use visual communication methods in the media

The legibility of a message and the ease of reception initiate useful solutions in social communication that go beyond the commercial culture and organisation of the system based on the exchange of goods. Creative activities in the field of graphic arts are related to the search for new aesthetic solutions that make it possible to reveal the social phenomena omitted in a traditional message.[4] They also concern the sphere of meaning, often related to a specific utility, which is directly related to the creation of reality. These two areas, characteristic of graphic arts, are linked by the process of building the structure of a work through experience, and not through creation focused on the production of objects. Using the creative resources of mass communication, graphic arts make it possible to socialise a message and give it a new practical function. They make it possible to show the subjective needs of an individual, reducing the differences resulting from the specificity of everyday life. Thus, they create a generalisation, synthesis and universal content that only defend the particularism arising from the culture of reproducing capital. Graphic arts give space for statements that treat change insightfully. Thus, they do not build a diversity of unity, which ultimately maintains the status quo. They implement ideas that are a reaction to a given life situation, revealing the general mechanisms of the functioning of society. The manner in which this is done results in the coherence of teleology and causality, combining the initial ideas that take account of the conditions for their implementation – the agreement of what is ideal with what is real.[5] The emerging practicality of graphic arts does not serve to individualise a visual message as an artistic form shaping successive mutated aesthetic qualities within traditional thinking about art, but it enables the launch of a ‘causal series’[6] influencing reality. Graphic projects allow the emergence of a new potential arising from the analysis of reality, which, when carried out thoroughly, leads to the self-realisation of the existing situation – its correct self-expression. By creating the possibility of the ‘ideal moment’,[7] graphic arts ultimately participate in the process of a form of a social being becoming independent.

Maciej Kurak

[1] Cf. György Lukács, The Ontology of Social Being, Vol. II, London: Merlin Press 1978.

[2] This is Jerzy Ludwiński’s concept that defines activities dissolving in everyday life and creating reality. Post-artistic activities include both functional projects, 1:1 art, and those belonging to material realism.

[3] As a consumer object, art easily fits into all market mechanisms. It makes it possible to participate in the process of culture quantification, maintaining the existing system based on the idea of accumulating capital.

[4] The form of communication corresponds to the general principles of organisation shaped by culture.

[5] Cf. György Lukács, Op. Cit.

[6] Ibid., p. 90.

[7] Ibid., p. 123.