The King with no Clothes: Break the Silence

Break the Silence

When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said. Ben Huberman

Attending an art exhibition opened recently made me consider the fairy tale, ‘The King With No Clothes.’ Looking at the catalogue later I observed; the more verbose the artist’ statements, the weaker the work, and less able it was to speak for itself.

Language is constantly changing. Maybe it is me showing my age, the fact that I find it hard to accept, every one now has an ‘art practice.’ What happened to painters painting, sculptors sculpting etc.? People make art now or are busy in their art practice. I find this very pretentious.

Some phrases that took my fancy in the catalogue:                                                                       ‘I ‘aim to explore the conceptual and phenomenological scope of this relationship.’

‘I think that making art and looking at art are coterminous experiences.’

‘The documentation of my lived experience within an endemic spatio-temporal environment is the cornerstone of my practice.’

Of course there are those artists who express themselves in a sincere and understandable fashion.

I can’t help remembering two of Matisse’ many quotations:                                                        ‘You want to paint?                                                                                                                          First of all you must cut off your tongue because your decision to paint takes away from you the right to express yourself with anything but your brush.’

‘Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his own tongue.’ Matisse.

It sounds as if he meant artists should destroy their pens too. I would have loved to express a few honest words on the night, but held my tongue.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/break-the-silence/

 

 

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27 thoughts on “The King with no Clothes: Break the Silence

  1. LRose

    Occasionally I look through these old prompts because I often find replies I didn’t see the first time around. I’m glad I found this one! I’m an arts program manager and if there’s one thing that drives me bug-nutty, it’s the “artist statement.” But, they are, in my opinion, a necessary evil. When done right, they enrich the viewer’s experience. When done badly, they are exactly as you and those who replied to this post describe. And, attached to each and every work is absolutely unnecessary.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      I do like the way you say an artist statement should enhance the viewer’s experience, rather than make the viewer feel inadequate. It is interesting to know that you are an arts program manager LRose. I wish you every success with this, as I guess you are tested daily!!

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  2. tnkerr

    This is the third time today that I have encountered the word coterminous. That’s just spooky. I agree with prevailing opinion on explaining your art as well. I don’t want your explanation of the piece. I like my own interpretation just fine!
    You did a great job with this piece by the way.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      ‘Coterminous’ was a first for me, you’re doing well with a third time!! Thanks for your comment, it’s greatly appreciated! 🙂

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  3. helen meikle's scribblefest

    What a load of totally pretentious bollocks! I wonder if it means anything at all? I’m certainly not looking up the [sic] words to find out. Definitely the Emperor’s New Clothes – no one’s game to say the painting sucks in case they’re missing some frightfully intellectual point all explained in the blurb.
    I write poetry, occasionally, and I’m often surprised by the interpretations other people come up with. Things that had never entered my head! But if it makes them happy, who am I to argue? I’d have thought that was the point – art is subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      Yes, there were worse ones, but unfortunately I couldn’t put pictures to the words, or I might be in trouble. Masses of googlyglob. I do think it’s up to the viewer to find the essence, just as your readers do in your poetry.

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      1. M T McGuire

        I did the pinky skied one with the cars, yes and the character sketches – but I was way, waaaaay out of my comfort zone for those. I got a proper design agency to make the covers. Mine were awful.

        Cheers

        MTM

        Liked by 1 person

      2. bkpyett Post author

        That is great, I love your pink one. I know how you feel though, I feel exactly the same. Illustration is hard and quite different from painting.

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  4. joannesisco

    I had a boss once who had the attitude that if something was so complicated that he couldn’t understand it, it was likely wrong. That attitude rather annoyed me at times – I thought it was very pretentious, but it kind of resonanted with me in your post. That is exactly the type of situation where “less” should be “more”. I thought art forms were supposed to speak for themselves. If the artist has to include an elaborate explanation, it sounds just wrong.

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  5. Wordsgood

    Great post!

    I also owe you a thank you for inadvertantly introducing me to Martha Kennedy through her comments on this post! I went to look at her art, loved it, got caught up reading some of her blog posts and just had a nice long chat with her. Without you, we might never have met, so thank you! 🙂

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  6. Martha Kennedy

    I also love Matisse. He taught me a lot. As did Picasso through his linoleum cuts. As have so many others — some to my complete surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Martha Kennedy

    I feel this very strongly. I had a painting hanging in a juried show last summer. It didn’t win, but I was just excited to have it selected and then hanging in a really nice gallery. The two winners, however, made me almost change my mind. BOTH of them had elaborate verbal explanations and stories and somehow the artists felt that their paintings NEEDED to be explained. I felt that what had “won” were not paintings but short stories with illustrations. I don’t understand the idea of “art practice” either. And, a person who has to write that he/she “aims” at something is a person who has to admit “missing.” If my paintings WORK then they are VISIBLE. Certainly a viewer will not see exactly what I painted, but so what? I cannot EVER acknowledge the debt I owe to artists who could never have imagined my existence and yet whose work gave dimension and meaning to aspects of my life. What IF I do that, too? I would rather never know. I would rather not tell anyone else what they should take away from a work of mine. It’s there. A bit of my life and my experience. Wow.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      So pleased Martha that you feel the same way. I think this subject could inspire me to write some very cynical things…there’s so much baloney ‘practised in their practice’ . I’d love to see your paintings. 🙂

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      1. bkpyett Post author

        I have just looked up your post showing some of your paintings. I love them, particularly, ‘The World Is Out There.’ Your mentions of Ariadne’s thread conjures up many visions, both joyous and tragic. Your story allows me to see how torn you must be between your painting and writing. Yes, the arts were not considered a ‘safe’ career for me, aren’t we lucky to get old enough to make our own decisions! Thanks for sharing this. ❤

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  8. bkpyett Post author

    I wasn’t able to include a picture of the winner… maybe in private I could tell you about her ‘art work’. ❤ Thanks for your feedback Maggie!

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