The Symbolist movement in art was first proposed by the poet, Jean Moreas, in a manifesto published in 1886. The resulting wave of influence had an impact on all the arts and ultimately impacted the development of Expressionism, of Fauvism, of Italian Futurism, and of most of the lineage of modern art as we know it, even though the movement itself lived a life of only around thirty years.
The core philosophy of neosymbolism, like that of its predecessor, is the idea of "correspondences", the "emblematic order" of a world in which technology and the industrial reality have not yet drowned the forces of mysticism and belief. In a world where visual images exist to generate sales and revenue Neosymbolist imagery attempts to preserve the relationship between image and the human soul. The imagery is necessarily representational rather than abstract. It borders on the narrative, but stops short of the commercial trap of illustration to convey an idea for profit. Oddly, artists like Norman Rockwell could qualify as Neosymbolist painters in that they adopt a social and cultural undercurrent and convey it in terms of the cultural cliche'; the image as representative of core aspects of the culture. The same is not true, however, of the generally accepted idea of commercial illustration which attempts more to influence cultural, political, and economic ideology than it tries communicate an existent reality. Neosymbolism is fairly well hidden within the culture with few references and almost no broad based visibility. In 1988 A_Demos,Nick published a book in an edition of two. This was the first visible sign of the idea underlying this philosophy.Nick A_Demos developed this first book of Neosymbolism into paintings.Nick A_Demos was the first to coin the word Neosymbolism as evidenced by neosymbolism.com as the first use of this word and documented by the domain name, see link to this site. NEOSYMBOLISM.com
There has also been a separate group using the neosymbolism name for the creation of an international collective representing a number of artists who share the goals of preserving the visual art that is the foundation of the ideas associated with the term in its original and essential sense, as opposed to the "non-sense" of individual philosophies which deviate from the preservation of the core philosophy as it has evolved since the late nineteenth century.
The neosymbolist movement was born spontaneously in numerous locations across the globe. Many groups use words but do not want to be limited to only that discipline. A group of Danish Neosymbolists defined their movement by
- Using Iconic language in their expressions
- Reproducing the inner experience of the outer world
- Examining the human experience and circumstance in today’s changing world
- Examining the underlying meaning of life
- Using media in conscious and innovative ways
An international Neosymbolist collective that began exhibiting as a group in 2001 has a simpler definition.
- exploration of the emotional, political, and spiritual themes of the rapidly changing culture of the late 20th and early 21st
through the use of symbols both personal and universal.
From this perspective the neosymbolist movement can be seen as a reaction against abstraction, an attempt to weave the artists’ intellectual and spiritual experiences into the fabric of their work. Words, ancient symbols of ideas, can be a powerful tool of expression but the neosymbolists’ palette is not limited to their use alone.
The exhibition history of this group, including their collaborations with the Danish Neosymbolist collective, are documented in the reviews in these periodicals. More information about this group can be found at www.neosymbolism.eu
- Sketch Book the Artists’ Coalition of Austin Newsletter -
Neosymbolismus at Depot St. Gallery - Pascale Vial -July 2001
- Austin Chronicle Vol 23 No 26 - Jacqueline May - May 7, 2004,
- Olomoucky Den - Gabriela Garbova - March 17, 2005
- Austin Gazeta - The Exhibition of Neosymbolist Art - October, 2006
- Vesterbro Bladet - Symbol X i Rahuset - Af Michael Friis - November 22, 2006 - Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dnes - Galerii Osadil Neosymbolismus - January 5, 2007
- Pravo - Neosymboliste Vystavuji v Olomouci - Vlasta Hrdilova - January 12, 2007,
- Piestansky Tyzden-Americki vytarnici predstavili neosymbolizmus-Ondrej Grezdo - octobra 14, 2008