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Jackson Pollock working in his studio, dropping paint onto canvas
Courtesy of Tate.org.uk
Photo by Martha Holmes / The LIFE Premium Collection / Getty Images

What was the most essential factor for Jackson Pollock when he painted the legendary ‘action paintings?’ He didn’t apply the planned visual presentation to his canvas, rather he created unpremeditated and unconstrained, but powerful aesthetics there. It’s more like he poured his inner impulse on his painting, and whether it was intentional or not, he created the visual perfection with spontaneity.

Spontaneity is generally sprouted from the artists’ unconscious and inspiration, and also from the unexpected factors in his creation. He can’t summon it even if he wishes to use it or eliminate it because even his attempt to remove it remains another trace of spontaneity in his work. David Hockney once said “You must plan to be spontaneous.” Do you think it is even possible?

Asger John’s studio in Colombes, France
Photo by Luc Jourbert

Many artists leave a space for spontaneity before they final-touch the artwork. They fanatically believe in its absoluteness that can make their work more dense and vibrant. The artists from the Art Informel in France in the early twenties espoused its power and the Abstract Expressionists like Pollock as mentioned earlier have left numerous timeless masterpieces created with a spontaneous sense, which have inspired many for a long period of time. A COBRA painter Asger Jorn also placed enormous value on spontaneous and instinctive way of creation. He loved to experiment with spontaneity and especially admired the spontaneous urgency found in children’s drawing.

Some artists nowadays use spontaneity more actively in their work by collaborating with the audience to produce the work. Rather than controlling the results, they open the creation process to audience and add depth and diversity to the work, using unexpected elements that the audience spontaneously brought.

Bernar Venet
Three Indeterminate Lines, 2007
Rolled steel
255 x 406 x 310 cm (100 3/8 x 159 7/8 x 122 1/8 in.)
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, courtesy ofKasmin Gallery, New York
Photo by Chris Stach

“The most important and the most difficult liberation process we went through, the one that has distinguished our art, was the freeing of colour, the transition to a painterly spontaneity.”

Asger Jorn

“The spontaneous is the most beautiful thing that can appear in a picture, but nothing in art appears less spontaneously than that.”

Jeff Wall

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