27 Oct The Unintentional Artist — what makes art?
During an unexpected visit with my architect friend, I stayed mesmerized in a tradesman’s workshop, surrounded by endless art pieces, just pondering the concept of art, or what makes it. The images of these abstract pollock-like paintings brushed unintentionally on the walls, strengthened many ideas nested in my head. I was drawn to something beautifully crafted, but sadly unappreciated.
The tradesman and house painter who makes pieces that would probably be worth millions if he intended it to be, has further developed his skills barely making a scrap in this world, spending most of his time in his workshop. I see his son’s pictures hung on the wall, along with a written prayer. I notice the corner where he sits and cooks for himself. Tremendously unrecognized, this artist explores various ways to create color and texture. What unifies all of his works to me is the abstraction, and the expressionism. I can observe all the emotions and sweat put into these pieces, emotions lie at their heart. However, unintentionally.
What is a work of art? what makes it? who gets to dictate its value, the artist or the critic? can the work derive from intention alone, or idea alone? is Duchamp’s fountain really a work of art? These questions strike the core of our understanding of art itself. I’ve had a discussion with a friend before and we’re decades away from solving this enigma. One would argue that it might be social status, or probably the capitalist creed? that van gogh, gauguin and monet lived unacknowledged because of it. Is it the audience’s appreciation? I could have argued another angle and said that it was the intention, but one look at vermeer’s intentioned art pieces makes me alter all of my existing thoughts about that.
Money, education, exposure, philosophy, a complex outlook on life, expression, privilege, access; all of these are factors that go beyond a painting or a work of art, and yet get to dictate its value somehow. Frankly, and subjectively, I’m accepting the fact that the core definition of art itself is up for grabs.