Our very own Harlan Levey, curator, founder of the NNE network and creative director of Modart, has been talking about Mousse for over a year now. While the novel concept of Mousse Art has been developed into a full blown theory Levey has been working on the second book-edition of Modart, which is dedicated to Moussism and its representative artists. Herein he links former unaccepted movements in modern art, that are fully acknowledged now, and contemporary art movements that are not always recognized as such. All under the rebellious motto: ‘Mousse art looks like shit but tastes sweet.’
MOUSSISM = a non-traditional community based movement, which is not limited to a period, place or classical notion of aesthetics, discipline, medium, ideology or style. In terms of art, it is a movement that presents work, which migrates in the viewer’s mind from shit to THE shit.
Levey explains: “Carvaggio could be the first MOUSSE artist and played a significant role in the Counter Reformation, an artistic movement that struggled to create a balance to the reformation (and not be crucified). As the church manipulated art and social aesthetic values in propaganda maneuvers (more information of the political changes,) Carvaggio managed to make MOUSSE of the most recognized icons. He was a complete faux pas, but he was also such a good painter that it didn’t matter.
“We can take as examples, the seductive lips of the Lute Player, his drunken green Baccus or the first things that strike the eye when we come across his work ‘Madonna di Loretto.’ The first thing you see are dirty feet and the ass of a man, Madonna as a whore and peasants as believers, a baby so big he has no business being in his mother’s arms. Carvaggio made MOUSSE by abusing form through mastery of craft and managing to make subversive work without compromising the sincerity of his expression.
“He found a way to personalize commissions in a style that was ugly and sweet and undeniable. He sold his creativity and guarded his authenticity with his life. This is essential to making MOUSSE. This is where the honest and emotional are safe from mediated onslaught and illusion. It is an ethical stance towards creating in general and specifically to creating art. The work is not concerned with politics as a subject, the political act is the communication of the work.”
It’s not a trend, it’s a movement.
Photographs by Boudewijn Bollmann