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“Art is necessary in order that man should be able to recognize and change the world. But art is also necessary by virtue of the magic inherent in it.”—Ernst Fischer
Reissued with an introduction by John Berger, The Necessity of Art is a beautifully written meditation on art’s importance in viewing the world in which we live. In this wide-ranging and erudite exploration of literary and fine art, Fischer looks at the relationship between the creative imagination and social reality, arguing that truthful art must both reflect existence in all its flaws and imperfections, and help show how change and improvement might be brought about.
With his emphasis on the individual’s need to engage with society, his rejection of rampant consumerism and hypertechnology, and his indomitable optimism, this radical, affirmative and humane vision of the artistic endeavor remains as timely today as when it was first published sixty years ago.
“People have always needed art: but why have they needed it? And what shaped the forms whereby they satisfied their need? Fischer’s answers to these questions should be voraciously studied and debated.”