Saturday, September 04, 2010

Istvan Kantor - Neoism & (S)mash-up Performance for the Junction Arts Festival

Screenshot: The Junction Arts Festival 2010
ISTVAN KANTOR RE: INVASION - Recent Crimes and Punishments
Monuments / Plunderworks / Mash-Media / Shinyism / Lebensraum / Subvertainment
Curated by Paul Campbell
Sept 9 – Oct 9, 2010
Opening reception/performance Thursday, Sept 9, 7 - 11pm
SMASH at 2880 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Istvan Kantor is an artist known around the world by his "open pop star" identity – Monty Cantsin Amen. The movement behind this multiple persona pseudonym is "Neoism" which has been around since 1979 as an underground philosophy of performance and media experimentalists who share pseudonyms and identities to make their statements and action based art.

Istvan Kantor, the creator of Neoism and the original Monty Cantsin has been banned from most museums around the world for splashing his blood on the walls between valued artwork. His message was the idea of art itself, what is art? and what is not. By hanging a painting on the wall an artist leaves a mark and it is the museums that decide what art is; Istvan Kantor’s shocking act challenges the limits of artistic freedom and revolts against the control of established institutions. But according to Istvan Kantor, art is not necessarily those works of art that are in the museums, his statement of blood represents human body which is the source of art, the center of artist’s creation – it displays human life as a symbol and object of art.

When asked about his action based art, Istvan Kantor replies that the message is to help people in intense and emergency situations by confrontational, action art. "Things have to be done very fast and questions should be solved, extreme actions such as splashing blood trigger a reaction and exchange of ideas, the message goes through many layers of society, through media, courts, it’s a way I can communicate and bring attention to vital issues."

In today’s world, when art has no boundaries between good and bad and the concept of art itself is undefined it is important to know what is truly art and who is an artist. Being an all encompassing media artist, prolific in all artistic mediums, performance, video, music, and writing – Istvan Kantor received the Governor General Award in 2004 for his work. Controversial, subversive, rebellious, the art of Istvan Kantor has even been called demonic for his shocking action art. His art expresses the world today and Neoism is loosely defined as the culture of the new.

In the near future Istvan Kantor plans to continue his work in Neoism as Monty Cantsin Amen, and will have a special performance for the Junction Arts Festival, opening September 9 until October 9, at Smash, 2880 Dundas St. W. The persona of Monty Canstin is that of an honest and completely guilt free person who devotes his life and energy to make people’s life better. Neoism has an aspect of idealism and a belief in the better life through creative forces.

Having immigrated from Communist Hungary in 1977, Istvan Kantor travelled extensively around the world. He is an artist that reflects the different cultures, systems and views globally; who believes that we are biological beings, living a material existence in a scientific world, without the soul. The art of Istvan Kantor is an atheist art. A true artist is a messenger who expresses the truth. Ultimately Istvan Kantor makes us wonder about what the truth is and the value of human life.

2010 © Anya / Anna Lobsanova

What is the (Next) Message?: McLuhan Lectures 2005 - May 25 – Lilly Koltun – Portraiture
"Consider portraiture. Today's abstract portraiture can comprise performance, as in the case of Istvan Kantor. The portrait can be performed only once; any artefact that results is not the portrait. The artefact proper is itself ephemeral [.pdf]."
by Dr. Mark Federman
Chief Strategist, McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology
University of Toronto

Junction Arts Festival September 8 - 12, 2010: Artist Directory: Istvan Kantor

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