Originality and shit

after GSMB vRU x5

Amazing, no?

As I was in the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh there was an exhibition of David Schutter's (résumé in PDF). It was called NGS C. It was pretty crappy, but I sat in the exhibition for a good thirty minutes reading the pamphlet, which went into the detailed philosophy of what he did. Now the pamphlet was enlightening, but his paintings were still shit. I also watched the number of people who would come in and look at these. Basically, more than three fourths would take one step into the room and then turn around, noticing that the paintings were just canvases with shades of grey on them.

Now his philosophy behind the paintings was interesting. The basic idea was that "the fact that art has a history means that each artist (and successive generations of artists) builds upon the foundation of what has gone before" (i.e. no one is original). Everyone wants to be original and start from nothing ("tabula rasa"), yet the conclusion is always that it has to be built on something else (a form of evolution). "[Art] is in a constant state of development, as innovative artists forge new syntax and invent new words, but the basic structure remains".

This is not to say that one should not continue working on art, knowing that you actually are not entirely original and just building on something that already exists. People can still enjoy your work. Of course, this does not just enter the realms of traditional and modern art (paintings, sculptures, sketches, installations, etc.), but also literature and language. As a nerd, I enjoy learning about different things in languages and literature, though I am not much of a reader. I prefer to think freely, even if this is constricting. In recent times I have tried to read more, but we'll see... there are just so many things to read.

I was reading this article, which made me think of Schutter. I found it via Arts & Letters Daily, a site I use regular. But the idea that Octavio Paz, the Nobel Prize-winning Mexican writer, has is that no spoken or written text is actually "original", but a translation from a non-verbal world (i.e. your brain). Everyone is a translator, no matter what you do or say. Our originality is lacking, yet seems impossible to original without entering the realms of obliviousness and childlike thinking.

So I encourage all of you to go out and try something different something, cough new and see where it brings you. As a non-full time "artist", I do it for fun, even if some of my stuff is crap.

Schutter's work and more - images came from these sites and they probably hold the rights.


Art I like:
Ruben Brulat
Discussion of his work on WebUrbanist


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