Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't See It... (warning: may be a bit cynical)

We went into the gallery yesterday (a public holiday in Australia) to look after the shows.

One of the few people who did come in commented to a friend that she just 'doesn't see it' when reading one of the essays in conjunction with looking at Elisa's work.

We both must be thin skinned at the moment as it's amazing how much this little comment blew us off course.

What is more depressing is that it's ridiculous for us (as others) to expect everyone to 'get' or 'see' what you are trying to produce. If that was the goal of the exercise then we would dumb the work down to the lowest common denominator, paint it blue, add a few flashing lights and a 1900 number so you could vote for what you like or otherwise.

For both of us the 'look' of the outcomes is almost secondary to the process of creating the work itself. This is especially true with Elisa's work. My work is also much more about creating a space for personal narrative than a 'step 1, step 2, step 3 readable' story.

So if someone comes in expecting a 'solid' answer they might struggle. If, on the other hand, the come in for an experience then they might 'get it'. The easiest analogy would be classical music vs Bruce Springsteen... both are poetic but utilise seemingly disparate strategies. Similarly, do you need to understand Italian or German to appreciate Opera?

There once was a fascinating show at Museum Ludwig by Komar and Melamid that addressed the populist issue. The premise of the exhibition was a collection of artworks 'designed' around the averaging of a particular country's 'tastes'. They surveyed a large number of people in various countries as to what they liked and disliked for colours, motifs, styles, etc.

The results are remarkably depressing and unattractive.

They also did a similar project with music.

2 comments:

broken english said...

The wanted/most unwanted survey is extremly fascinating! It shows that most of the people actually life in perfect aesthetic balance. The most wanted paintings are exactly the kind of pictures i see in pizzarias, greek restaurants, cheap hotels and the waiting room at the doctors. The most wanted music sounds like what i can hear all day at our local station. So our aesthetical environment reflects our true state of mind.
Did it occur to you, that there is one striking exception? If you look at the most wanted paintings from the different nations, there are all landscape paintings. Execpt only one: Holland. The Holland's favourite painting is an abtract colour-smearing. Huh? Is there an explanation for that? Liberal drug policy? What is so different about Holland?

zebra factory said...

The Dutch 'anamoly' was commented on at the time. What I find especially interesting is the scale issue... i.e certain countries like their 'artworks' the size of a fridge (?)