The Seven Theses published in connection with the Galerie Artek exhibition in 1977 manifest the essence
in Ernst Mether-Borgström’s outlook on art as well as his views on the creative process.
1. In the early 20th century art reoriented itself, striving to remove inessentials, the slag that weighed it down. Art came with new initiatives, opening views into all of society’s functions.2. We have let the pioneers down, misunderstood and underestimated them. We have sunk into confusion and chaos, our measures have been insufficient. As a result, discomfort and aimlessness, distress and a sense of defenselessness have meant a lack of fertile soil for mental growth. Therefore, art has become targeted with bitter criticism for having betrayed society.
3. This is nevertheless a misunderstanding: the criticism is unfair. People expect the wrong things from art, they enter through the wrong door. Art works indirectly by influencing the source. It has been reviled because of faulty applications, inaccurate interpretations and cheap solutions. Corruption has eaten away the meat and left only the bones of the original intentions visible.
4. We have to make a fresh start. First of all, pictorial art needs to be aware of its limits and its task, and protect its identity. In the intellectual ecology, it has a niche of its own to cherish.
5. We do not have to bow to right and left, to please theater, literature or film any more than politics, science, technology or anything else. We have our own field to plow, a field that no other measures can reach. There is no sense in having different forms of activity overlap.
6. We should know our limitations and not allow ourselves be tied by elements that are remote from our own sector. Our tools are colors and forms, and what we can express by them, not the word, technology or creating sensations or parades, not superficial decoration, to mention only a few examples among the abundance of mistakes made by art.
7. Pictorial art works by abstract values reflected in its form. It should be conceived as a shaper of immaterial values and a therapy which coordinates the reactions of the psyche with the changes in our environment. Art challenges our senses to their full effect instead of sacrificing them – as the case is today – to knowledge, memory or the perfection of the brain. The brain is not a sense organ, it controls the synchronization of the psyche with the physical. We do not function like individuals who have their own special fates – by full cooperation of our senses – but like robots or slaves regulated by some additional control organ. The brain, which was meant to be a servant, has turned into the lord and master. The terror and power it employs are frightening. We are not in control of the consequences of this unfortunate situation – war, torture, violence – the self-inflicted destruction threatening mankind. the human soul – the source of good and evil – is where art works. Its task is to purify and elevate the human being to the very limits of possibility. Not underestimating major achievements, I find the guidance gone astray.