Amazing series: You are Never Alone
“I don’t think we should be afraid of doing something very beautiful, engaging and very somehow seducing, emotionally…challenging”
We are Beautiful, 2010
Friday mornings are used by 4th year students to present work, usually two or three people, to the rest of the class where the work is critically analysed and discussed. During a recent critique, we were looking at a work presented by Heather Dimarco, Zero to Infinity, 2010.
It produced an engaging conversation between students and tutors on their understanding of infinity and zero. Infinity was the aspect that I found to be the most thought-provoking element to the work. By having the two mirrors facing towards each other a ‘column of infinity’ was created.
It is through our imagination that we are able to understand or visualise the impossible that is infinity. Without it we could not envision the mirror reflecting itself to infinity or the golden spiral continuing on forever. Infinity has no place in reality, it is a concept typically used in mathematics or physics that can never really exist. It is placed in equations, that use real numbers, the problem being that infinity is not achievable; it has no beginning or end, boundless and never-ending and therefore cannot exist alongside the real.
Artistic interpretations of infinity or mathematical equations can prove to be fascinating and stimulating. The soundscape, 1.618, and accompanying video by musician BT and director Scott Pagano demonstrated this superbly.
This Binary Universe is the 5th studio album by Brian Wayne Transeau, known simply as BT. The work 1.618, taking the value of the golden ratio to the nearest four digits, is both a musical and visual interpretation to the golden ratio. It is both powerful and incredibly beautiful; the audio is a combination of electronic ambient soundscapes, live orchestration and glitch music accompanied visually by amazing geometric and natural landscapes.
Discussing your own work can be difficult at the best of times. But is it justifiable not to talk about it at all?
It is not uncommon for artists to completely avoid giving personal insight or discussion about their work. I find this to be frustrating at times being refused an answer. It can give the impression that the artist either can’t be bothered or does not want to share their insight with others; that if you don’t understand the work, that’s your problem. It is almost as if the artist is guarding their work from others through “a private language spoken amongst the initiated.”¹
I believe on art’s most basic level, it to be a way of communication. Talking about work with the creating artist can assist our understanding and give a further appreciation of their intentions or ideas. Is this request so wrong? In a word, yes! Although it irritates the hell out of me at times being refused an answer, it is far more satisfying making my own conclusions and interpretation of word than being told.
Kandinsky believed art was “to be discovered- or felt- in the response of the attentive spectator.”²
Discovered is the most important word used to describe the relationship between artwork and viewer. It is not something to be told, it is something to be reached on our own. If you don’t understand the work then try!
¹ Charlesworth, J.J. (2010) Art Review Issue 44, Smartists article, pg. 34
²Harrison, C. (1997) Movements in Modern Art: Modernism. London, Tate Gallery Publishing.
A. Thomson, Infinity Must End, 2010
The above work, constructed entirely of paper, was made while on exchange to Boston, America. A three-dimensional interpretation of Koch’s fractal equation, also known as the Koch snowflake. Where the sides of an equilateral triangle are divided into three equal lengths, the middle section forms the side of a smaller equilateral triangle, where the process repeats over and over again. This work relates to a future blog looking specifically at the number zero and the concept of infinity that I am currently writing and will publish in the next few weeks.
Recently I found myself asking the question: Why create art?
More specifically why do I as an individual create art?
“Souls are weighted in silence, as gold and silver are weighed in pure water, and the words which we pronounce have no meaning except through the silence they are bathed…Meaning arises as much through silence as through sound.” ¹
While participating in an international exchange to Boston America, I found that there were times of solitude; I refer to this not in a negative way but as a chance to step back without distractions, reflect on who you are as a person and your life as a whole.
This new found silence allowed the question to arise: why do I as an individual create art? There must be a reason and a purpose for the creation of my art. I personally believe there is a human need for self expression, to convey your idea or point of view across to another, this desire for communication and to be understood by another individual.
Ultimately I want to make a positive impact on society, to make a constructive impact on the individual by offering an enjoyable, engaging artwork that may create an experience that has the ability to lift their spirits, offer hope or absorb them in a state of joy through original and inspiring artwork.
Maeterlinck identified the necessity of silence to the spoken word by a means to enhance its importance. We are living in the ‘information era’, where an incredible amount of information is freely available. Silence allows consideration, opposed to the constant bombardment of information that has little or no impact in our day to day lives. I believe this could be possible with art, that if given enough silence, true consideration and thought can emerge.
Gyorgy Kepes stressed in 1965 that “perception and involvement” were the two important questions that should be considered by the artist. “Both are necessary for a positive, constructive development in society as well as the arts. The artist must learn must learn to consciously perceive his cultural environment. He must study its structure to learn which parts have become obsolete or trivial and which offer hope in the future.”²
I believe ‘identifying excess’ to be most interesting and relevant aspect to Kepes’ statement. We live in a world full of over stimulation, which appeals to our primal urges. Our daily life is overloaded; we don’t want solitude, we want entertainment. Solitude is “a restorer of energy, the stillness of alone experiences provides us with much-needed rest.”³ I believe this is what we lack in modern life, genuine silence where one can have the opportunity to properly reflect. The gallery can become this place, this restorer, where through silence and artwork one can have the chance to reconnect with oneself.
“It is not what art is or isn’t, but its effect on individuals.”⁴
¹ Zajonc, A. (1993) Catching the light. New York, Bantam Books, p.106
² Hill, J. (1970) Leonardo, Vol. 3. United Kingdom, Pergamon, p.9
³ www. Psychologytoday.com- http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199802/the-call-solitude
⁴ Mari, B. (1999) Stimuli: Too Much Noise. Too Much Movement. Rotterdam, Witte de With