Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Why is it that the Art world and the people who work in it professionally have such a need to explain all its aspects or make clever possible and assumed explanations of why a particular Art work is created? What is Art about? To me all sorts of talks about Art are fascinating only because we hear the story the speech giver is relating to us, which says more about them personally then the actual Art work. It gives us insight into the person, but does it give information about the Art work? 

A fascinating example of that is this story here about the work "woman with sticks' by Ron Mueck, see the video by clicking on this. (Amazing works by the way.)

I don't know why but these sorts of speeches have always bothered me. Not me personally, but in the sense that apparently there is a need to lift Art, for it to be taken seriously, to a level of explain-away-literacy. To me many Art folk have the habit to say "let's create this complicated story so dumb people "get" what this Art work is about". I find this behavior quite baffling. In Art-school, myself and my fellow students could quite happily create Art at a fast pace or having to take much time, usually via association and through ideas that popped in our heads. Yes we did many drawings and sketches and so on and sometimes we were simply on a roll. Only later would we come up with a clever story to explain why we used old pots and pans to create a sculpture for example. This was a necessary requirement to be able to concoct the most fabulous of theories that our professors would understand. Never mind we were on student pennies and the local second hand shop carried the funny pots which fit the bill too. I think Art critics should carefully consider an artist's life and his or her surroundings instead of filling in the blanks with their own witty interpretations, but that is just me.

To me Art works simply tell the story of a creator and what the creator thinks about, what they value and what they love. It is all inevitably inter connected. Art is visual story telling pure and simple. Of course it can be most fascinating to understand intricate aspects we otherwise would miss, but that can be fine if we so choose. Art for me will always be interpreted through our feelings, not our analytical mind to "understand". Then some say, but it is good to "educate". Is it? Perhaps it is to learn to make up your own mind eventually.

If we want to know more about any Art we can go talk to the artist. They made it and only they can tell you their story and answer the questions. Sure some stories will be complicated, and some will be simple. But isn't that just the beauty and the richness of life itself? Is Art not as diverse as we people are?

So why make it so fluffing difficult to explain Art? I still don't get it. That's alright, it doesn't worry me but I do find it amusing.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree Mirjam.

    Art wank drives me nuts. I've just picked up a book about one one my fav NZ Photographers and while I love the pictures I find the text extraordinarily hard to read. All these explanations as to why she took pictures and the meaning and motivation behind the pictures. I don't think she thought any of these things, not while she was taking the picture anyway. I think like most photographers she was just recording things as she saw them.

    I also think to over explain art is to take away the viewers right to their own personal interpretation.