Friday, July 25, 2014

Just What is Art?

For some, it alters their lives. For others, it moves them to tears. Sometimes, it makes the world more understandable or even more confusing. It can capture a feelings, a pretty scene, or nothing at all. Just what can spark all of these things? Art.

On 21 July, our class went to the Tate Modern. We had just finished going to the Southbank's Globe Theatre and it was time to switch my thinking gears. We had just learned about the art of performance, theatre, and how to entertain crowds, but now I had to look at things people made in order to spark emotion. This is something I am not very good at grasping, so I went with a sort of uneasiness. However, like the rest of the trips I have taken while here in London, I just threw myself into the trip.

When we first entered, I couldn't believe how open and magnificent the building was. It demanded respect.

The open area just showed that the building itself used to be a powerful source. In the past, this building used to be a power plant. The coal warmed the houses and provided power. The enormous building used to be a place of power for the people, but who is to say that is still doesn't do that now?
The Tate Modern now houses 5 floors worth of all types of art. All were spectacular to look at, so all the spectators said. The art touches lives of the people and helps them to be proud of their culture. 

It was time for me to go in and decide for myself: Just what is art? And how would it affect me?
A surreal piece of art.
But what does it mean?
Our tour started with the surreal section. All of the art there is meant to be odd and outside the scope of realism. However, when looking at the pieces, I felt lost. It was hard to grasp what the whole meaning of the piece was. I didn't even know if the artist had any meaning in mind when making the pieces.

 There were several objects that looked complex and I commend the artists for being able to make them, however all it did was confuse me. This section was not where I would be able to connect with art.

Next, I traveled over to a section with more tangible ideas. It had landscapes and people. This was something I could relate to. One piece really caught my attention.
Sydney Noland's Inland Australia
 This one stopped me in my tracks. Australia is the only place I have actually dreamed of going to. This painting showed exactly how I imagined it looking. The large desert landscape in reds put me there, even if it was just for a second. Every time I look at it, I am at ease. It just calms me to look at it. This was the first time art has actually caused any sort of reaction from me. I eagerly went on to look for more. 

Next, I looked around drawings of people that turned into drawings of objects, animals, even the abstract. Some of them were extraordinary, while others looked like the artist was a child. I even looked at some very exquisite creations, however none of them really spoke to me. The one piece I had found only spoke to me on a shallow level. In this whole building, was there really only going to be on piece that meant something to me? 
Gunther Uecker's White Field
Roger Hiorn's Untitled

Dora Carrington's
Spanish Landscape with Mountains

Then, I came across something that actually created an involuntary response. It was so sudden and quick, I would not contain myself. I laughed. 

Now, I know these artists have worked very hard to make something to help describe how they feel or about an issue in the world. However, this one piece was just so absurd, I couldn't help but laugh. 

What was I looking at? There is no way all of this rubber melted down could be art. This is just so ridiculous. I read what the "meaning" of this work was (as shown in the right picture) and laughed even more. This was not the meaning I had expected. 

However, this piece did invoke a response. This is what I had been waiting for. This one touched me on a deeper level. It did not reflect gender issues or even signify growth to me. This piece showed me that with enough effort, anything can be art. The fact that I am questioning myself on why I laughed showed that it did it's purpose. It made me think

Just what about it was so funny? The fact that it wasn't a majestic painting? Or a sparkly engine? Or maybe that it even starts out as something so normal and ends in a huge blob? I wasn't quite sure, but I was starting to grasp just what art is. 

Art is something that is not easily described. It can take many forms and be made by anything. However, art always has a response if done well. The responses differ from person to person, but there is always something the audience feels after partaking in it. Art isn't something logical, but something emotional. It's something we all feel at one point or another. This is why it is usually described as priceless. How can you put a price on an emotion?

I started as a skeptical at the Tate Modern. Though many of the pieces didn't mean much to me, there were enough to make the trip worthwhile. I may not know much about art, but I don't think anyone really does. It's just something you have got to go into and explore for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment