The Value Of Difficulty
I am not an artistic person. I am not able to appreciate whole arts (poetry doesn't move me, Lyric Singing annoys me). But I do have a taste, which is my own, although I understand it is not exactly good taste.
Now, what do I like?, or rather, why do I like it? Does it say something about me?
I find that I don't like any form of art without intrinsic difficulty. Or rather, that I enjoy more if it is somewhat difficult technically.
For example, I know all the theory behind why this is supposed to be a great painting:
Hermann Nitsch's work draws parallels between religion and the ritualistic spiritualism of creativity. Heavily entrenched in ancient philosophy and a dissident, questioning Christian theology, he actively seeks catharsis through pain and compassion, a rigorously disciplined quest for ethereal release and enlightenment through an embracing of primal instinct and ancient sacrament.
Ermmm... I see mostly a red blotch, which I suppose makes me a philistine.
On the other hand, I see this, and I actually see a lot more that fits that description:
I like Ingres more than Rothko, I like Rubens more than Picasso... maybe I am just old fashioned?
I think not. I think I despise those who decide to master a game with no rules, where you can declare yourself winner without contrasting yourself to other players. That's why we watch the football world cup and not other games, because it's damn hard and you have to do it with your feet. I think modern painting is taking the ball in your hands and declaring yourself revolutionary.
This outlook, that having a good technique, a domain of a difficult craft before bothering with art has some strange effects in my life. I don't like the low hanging fruit. But then again, I am not really tall enough or strong enough for the one that's on the hard to reach branches.
That leads to a life of almost unending frustration and yearning, yet gives me lots of energy, and I think I have come to do some things I wouldn't have done had I settled for easier pickings.
I have been working for years on how to harness that thrust for my own benefit, and I am not too good at it yet. Maybe that's the toughest craft I need to master, and I am working on it.
i can totally agree with you. now if you like to know, why the first picture is to be considered "art", all you need to read is a book by the french sociologist pierre bourdieu, preferably his work "distinction". hard to read for non-sociologists but afterwards you'll know why you don't have to feel bad about not liking pollock and other stuff...
Photorealistic painting might be a great skill and hard to do, but it doesn't make much sense these days: we have photography.While the blot is pointless to me as well, there are many pictures in between: more abstract than a photorealistic painting, but still with a motive.
That's the picture I find interesting (as in: I look at them longer than a minute, I am not an expert on visual art either)
> I think modern painting is taking
> the ball in your hands and
> declaring yourself revolutionary.
I see your point, but one could counter-argue that following old paths and solving the puzzles given by others centuries ago is boring, and one should define new rules and puzzles instead.
Realistic painting is a good example: Why should one optimize his skills in doing something everyone can do with a camera and some basic knowledge about photography? Just for the sake of doing something sophisticated and difficult? Isn't it better then to find new ways of painting?
Photorealistic painting? I never mentioned such a thing, but I can see where that comes from.
If you figure out how to create a new art, that's awesome. Cinema, for instance, is not painting. Photography is not painting. And I enjoy both.
But saying that because you can take pictures technique doesn't matter is at least annoying, because it leads **directly** to red blotches that need a two page description to be meaningful.
> But saying that because you can
> take pictures technique doesn't
> matter is at least annoying,
> because it leads **directly** to
> red blotches that need a two page
> description to be meaningful.
I don't say having artistical skills is obsolete since we have photography, I just say that painting had to change, otherwise it would have become obsolete, at least in parts.
The blotches are nothing we need to discuss, to me it just looks like an over-interpreted graffiti of a three-year old as it does to you.
(Who knows, maybe in 50 years even philistines like us see a difference?). But considering Picasso, I am happy that Picasso created/heavily influenced new styles instead of sticking to the kind of ("realistic") painting he did in his youth. I guess he had a good technique even in the classical sense. But I like the later stuff more, no matter if it is "technically" harder or easier to do than the early works. (just my personal taste, as a philistine I can't give any "argument" here).
My argument is that creativity and innovation in arts, science, society, software, whatever, is often created by people conciously or unconciously breaking the existing "rules" you speak about. Of course the innovator usually has talent and isn't an unskilled amateur, but to create something new, you don't need to be the perfect craftsman with unmet technical skill. That doesn't mean people create something big all the time when breaking the rules. Maybe 99.99% they do not, and the result is even inferior to the "conventional" solution. But it's the 0.01% what it's all about.
However, I think your entry is more down-to-earth about whether us mortals should do something completely arbitrary and uncomparable to avoid competition, or choose the competitive path where rules exist to judge quality.
And then, the 99.99% are a strong argument for the latter.