A Production of Ideas
May 8, 2011 § 2 Comments
“Nothing is easy”, my studiomate told me at the beginning of the 2009 semester. “If everything were easy, everyone would be doing it.” I can’t remember the specific details of that conversation with him, except that I was dissatisfied with my place in art.
Art is not about making things pretty. It is not a display of objects purely for the sake of putting the craft of someone else on a pedestal to marvel at what one person can do that another cannot. It is not about stylistic appearances and merely what it can do for you, but rather, it is a gateway into the mind of another individual. It is the passage through another psyche whose concerns have been transmuted into the object that has been created.
It is true that many artists do not possess the ability to paint like Raphael or Da Vinci. Those individuals began their apprenticeships with their masters when they were little children, and to dedicate whole days like that in this current world is neither functional or realistic. The institutions that supported the arts, beliefs and values that people had, have shifted. Technology has also greatly evolved, and with that, so have people’s concerns.
Gone are the days where the current events of other countries go unnoticed. Technology has broken down those barriers and we are instead, instantly aware of current events when the television is turned on, or when the computer has booted up.
Art during the Renaissance were usually done through commissions of the church or some other wealthy patron. The dominant ideologies of the time was humanism and the greatness of the human body created by God. The Mannerist period followed where these ideas were challenged and the depiction of the body became more open to distortion.
One could then fast-forward to the period just before World War I, where the Futurist Movement enjoyed its heyday. This artistic movement was characterized by an infatuation of the new and of technological advancements. Artwork was interested with youth, speed, power, and technology. When the war ended however, the damage was unimaginable to the people of the early 20th century. For all the progress that humanity was perceived to have been made, how could so much destruction have taken place?
The world did not make sense, and the Futurist Art movement no longer had a place. What made sense? Nonsense? Chaos? For what had been wrought during the war, yes it did. This became the ideas for which the Dadist Movement was based upon. What is what, and to figure out things out again because there seemed much that seemed meaningless in the modern world.
What has been broken does not remain broken though, if one works to find the pieces. As is the case with many things in life, reactions to things take place, and so everything was not Dadist forever, but rather reactions to other socio, political and economic happenings. As the world has become incredibly complex, artists have also picked up upon this and have become their muses.
Art evolves as much as the world around it does, and reflects the thoughts and concerns of individuals, whose concerns may not always be an aesthetic one, but an ideological one. The process remains as an art however, as it is an investigation of something that needs time in order to be perfected. It is also worth noting that as long as an artist is still alive, what pieces they have created, are all works in progress. They are not end masterpieces, but merely a states of being at a particular time. It is a production process influenced by many things, and what one person considers as presentable, thought provoking, or moving can be very different from another person.
Life, itself is a process, one of joys and of challenges, and ways of living require time in order to be perfected. We go through phases of learning, inside and outside of the walls of institutions, of how to relate to others and of figuring our own lives out. Production, whether it be writing, music, dance or pictorial art influenced by personal cultures, are the resulting products of a life journey that is figuring things out. As diverse as human beings are, I believe it is something that we all have in common. We are all involved in the process of understanding, living, and figuring out the processes of life. Art is a discussion of ideas.