McLuhan said ‘Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of…media…than by the content of the communication’. However The Magma Group ‘…whilst not denigrating the role of medium in the ultimate work, credit other aspects with having equal input…in the transmission of its message…’ says art writer/critic Anna McNay. She further points out that the group believes ‘…expressive use of feeling,…’ a well developed idea and ‘…sensitive ..handling of the artist’s medium’ are all necessary to get the artist’s message across.
McLuhan says ‘All media work over us completely. They are so pervasive…that they leave no part of us untouched,,,The medium is the massage’. McNay feels this re definition or pun on McLuhan’s original phrase is highly appropriate when applied to fine art. She further expounds ‘the word ‘magma’ comes from the Greek ‘massein’ meaning ‘to knead’. She says, ‘[The Magma Group] …knead and massage their materials until the message appears’.
These ideas will be further explored in a symposium on 12th December with guest speakers including Professor Michael Archer, (Goldsmith’s College London), and Anna McNay, Assistant Editor Art Quarterly/freelance art writer.
The Magma Group was founded in 2011 and is made up of artists from France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and the UK, some of whom have shown at the Venice Biennale.