“No Message”

“Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing; light is everything.”
Leonard Misonne.

I couldn’t say it better than that. I know … I had the topic before HERE, but it hits me every time.

Here are some more recent results of early-morning outings, which means at this time of the year 4:30 … yep … not for everyone…



Klaus Rossler © copyright

Most people, misguided, not only look for the grandiose and important, e.g. the cheesy postcard with the mountain peak in the first morning glow and the tranquil lake below … they also look for names or labels, for purposes and sociopolitical messages, as e.g. street-photography and the homeless guy in a back alley. It’s the ever dreadful need for a story by the visually and artistically impaired. Unable to see the actual criteria, abstract visual features and artistic language, they escape into labels and verbal stories. They are unable to see beyond ‘what’ it is … the label. When we are talking about (visual) art, the object is meaningless … we should look for ‘how’ it is.

We see the same attitude in music … people talk about music, but what they really mean, and the only thing they can hear are … words … story-telling with often diletente background noise … assuming it is music … Music is an art form on it’s own with it’s own criteria and values, as all other artistic expressions … beyond verbal storytelling … a fact that is incomprehensible to the artistically handycapped … music without words is just noise to them. The vast majority of music has no lyrics at all … neither does sculpture, painting or dance … 

Similar to the qualities in visual art, music is about: harmony (chords and melody / vertical and horizontal forms), rhythm/time, composition, melody or theme, arrangement, phrasing and tone, improvisation, virtuosity and expression … all performed in a unique and innovative way … but NOT about a verbal message! Equally, painting, sculpture and dance has no … and does not need … any words. Art is what people do to express what cannot be expressed with words.

And, by the way … singing is NOT about words either. Singing is, by definition, the transformation of the human voice into a musical instrument, not different from any other instrument … to form / play organized, musical sounds. No words needed to sing.

Honest and true artistic expression and work stands on its own qualities, when no story, no explanation is necessary. No conceptual purpose or political message … where light and shadow, the blob of paint, the cluster of notes, silence, the brush stroke, line, texture, the composition … IS THE MESSAGE!

Art is more than a vehicle for sociopolitical messages and silly stories. Art is free and beyond heritage and morbid traditions, nationality and ethnicity, is no slave to mysticism and mind-numbing shamanic rituals. Art has no room for politics and advertising. Art is not pleasing and decoration for empty walls. Art is play, experimentation and fear-free willingness to make mistakes. Art is breaking rules. It thumbs it’s nose at authority. Art likes the anarchist. Art is the enemy of conservative thinking … the stagnation of the mind and the fear of change. Art  IS change! Art is NOT ruled by superstition, spiritualism (Lat.: ‘believe in ghosts’), religion and dogmas … we call that the ‘Dark Ages’.
Have we forgotten the Renaissance, Humanism and the Enlightenment, when we finally broke free from these evils and unlimited, individual expression triumphed? Creativity and innovation does NOT come from above, but from YOUR brain alone, as you and your whole personality IS your brain. Creativity goes hand in hand with the destruction of something old, clearing out to make room for something new. Art is about moving forward, being ahead of your time. Art is NOT a group endeavor or overseen by committee or a consequence of government grants.

Art is the work of the iconoclast – the individual who does NOT conform and dances to nobody’s drum, who is NOT apologetic, NOT politically correct and ‘nice’ … is the destroyer, not the worshiper, of icons.

Art is the unique, personal expression and careless play of an individual, free of restrictions and formulas.

Klaus Rossler © copyright

your comments are appreciated

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2 responses to ““No Message”

  • Klaus Rossler - Photography

    Yes – you are right, but it has niothing to do with African Americans or any other group. Its the basic concept of music, always has been, everywhere, predating language – in time, as well as in artistic level. To combine music with word is only recent and, if not a rediculous free ride of bad mediocracy on another artform, only a combination of two artforms. Its like discussing the text of the menu, while the real work of art, the fantastic dish, is not even noticed. Its like saying all classical and jazz, mistly without words, is NOT music. Actually, when combined with words, is usually the more silly, commercial stuff. If one cannot “hear” the music when there are no words, he has never heard any music at all.

  • Allyson

    Hi Klaus,
    When you compared photography to music, it reminded me of my experience in Washington, DC. When I first moved there and was exposed to various forms of music in the African American community, some of it puzzled me. Then I came to the belief that, often, their voices were actually being used as instruments … likewise, when people swayed, stomped, or clapped while singing.

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