Showing posts with label meaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meaning. Show all posts

Sunday, October 19, 2014

extraneous work (1): 6,5 years of this artist's blog

so time flies. and it happens i repeat myself. what i would like to do next is start a little series on all the extra -sometimes extraneous- work that comes along with being an artist, for me at last.

is this an interesting subject? not sure. why would a musician blogging about practising scales interest me? how she has to make recordings to submit to ... and how she has to do photo shoots, buy strings, tune the instrument, heat the appartment... we take all these things for granted, even when we're in awe of her music. even then, would my interest stretch beyond reading what influences / influenced her, her coming of age as a musician etc? not sure.

when i look at the large amount of time i spend on music (practising, myself; listening to music) and compare it to the amount of time i read about musicians/composers... it doesn't bode well for how interesting my own blog would be to others than myself. [still, the blog at least makes my art available on the web, and it has the added advantage of offering me the opportunity to crystallize some of my thoughts on art.]

but i suppose i would be interested in a description of this musician's activities, if it is well written, and offered some real insight in what drives her, both musically and as a person i suppose, since it seems hard to separate the two completely. and if like on this blog, the description would be interlaced with music...

anyway. it seems i would do well to at least write well on this blog. yet i tend to think that if i had wanted to become a good writer, then i would not have become an artist. most things takes a lot of time and energy to do well, and writing a blog is no exception. worth it too, since writing this blog helps me in important ways with my art itself: to present my art, to think about art and artists, to rethink my art, to rethink my artist's position in life and society, and even to create my art.

in order to present my art here, i spend quite some time on photography and subsequent tuning of digital images with photoshop and other image editors, such as picasa. a subject for the next post in this series, but as an example:

outsider in woman-man dance, frank waaldijk
outsider in woman-man dance (own work, 2010-2013, 21 x 30cm, click on the image for an enlargement)

difficulties abound: the colours of the drawing are hard to capture even with my canon 650d; then apart from often tricky colour adjustments the white-balance and the brightness of the picture need to be calibrated for use on computer screens. for shiny paintings, reflection-specks are edited out. then the image has to be saved for web, in a typical compromise between size and detail.

the drawing itself combines two themes: man-woman dance, and outsiderness (being an outsider). much as i would like to be able to write strikingly about my art, this is where i usually find myself at a loss for words.

lately i realize that this has something to do with a `trite' question: what do we mean with `meaning'? i cannot explain the meaning of art, i feel. if it has meaning (whatever that means), then the most important part of that meaning to me is essentially non-verbal. what is the meaning of the goldberg variations?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

postpostmodernism & postmodernism 3: meaning

francis bacon, study for a bullfight no 1 first version

francis bacon, study for a bullfight no 1 first version

perhaps i should start by saying that various sources have confirmed me as being very `postmodern' in my opinions and even in my artwork. this could explain why i compare postmodernism to puberty: i never really got over puberty either, but life goes on anyway. one cannot undo puberty, likewise i feel we cannot undo postmodernism. because postmodernism is just the reflection of a (to me higher/deeper whatever you wish to call it) insight that we have gained in the nature of truth.

to be more precise: we have found out that there is no absolute truth, and that the previous quests for absolute truth have brought countless wars and social disasters. [and also infrequently, somewhere, on the sidelines, some remarkable works of art/literature/philosophy/science/...]

in the visual arts, likewise there is no absolute aesthetics. previous quests for absolute aesthetics have brought countless mediocre works and museums filled with them. [and also infrequently, somewhere, on the sidelines, some remarkable works of art...]

so the resistance, the rebellion, whatever. let's show everybody how relative everything really is. let's deconstruct the ignorant people's preconceived notions of art, let's become societal prophets by creating art that educates society about its postmodern predicament.

but this means a shift in the `meaning' of art. `meaning' is redirected, transposed from the work of art to include the onlookers. and `meaning' can also be: to show these onlookers that there is no absolute meaning. [sorry to be so obscure, can't help it, that's what you get on the meta-level of meaning, and that's the mess postmodernism has justly gotten us into.]

for me, this type of meta-meaning isn't enough. at least, not in the long run. to kick against absolute truth is one thing, but to find personal truths is another. and although the first certainly is useful, imnsho, the second should not suffer from it too long.

so take a moment to consider the above painting by francis bacon. does it not capture a lot of this `relativity of meaning'? it also distorts space, spatial links between event and onlookers, temporal links between bullfight crowds and the second world war,...but what makes it a great painting imnsho is that it is painted in a painstakingly developed personal style, it is a personal painting expressing some personal truth...not meant solely or primarily to educate me about my ignorance on the meaninglessness of meaning...

and then consider francis bacon's second version...where the onlookers have all but vanished...:

francis bacon, study for a bullfight no 1 second version

francis bacon, study for a bullfight no 1 second version