- On October 24, 2015
The Space Between
The Emotional Collaboration Between Artist and Audience.
“The artwork that is meaningful and truly speaks to us — and thereby has value — is the artwork that connects with us on a deeper level than like and dislike. It connects with us because somehow it explains, clarifies, illuminates, sympathetically vibrates with, or in some other way touches us either emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually.” – Brooks Jensen
Many thinkers in the art world believe that it is the viewer, not the artist, who completes a work of art. If this is true, the viewer holds the work in their mind and emotions, creating an informal collaboration with the artist
By this token, the real work of art might not be the physical art at all, but rather the intangible reaction that occurs in the space between the art and the viewer.
Think of the art as a mirage: built within us in reaction to the physical and conceptual art; influenced by the complex matrix of emotions, experiences, memories and biases that make us into individuals.
The beauty of this interplay is the artists’ inability to fully control the experience. Even the most carefully planned and tightly executed art must let go- bowing to the viewers’ individual interpretation and understanding.
Even attempts to guide the experience (such as artists statements) are only hints, which can be reinterpreted or even ignored by the viewer.
This lack of control may guide us towards an interesting truth, hidden within the creative process:
Create with intention but know that once the work has left your hands, it takes on a life of its own. There is no such thing as a Universal understanding when it comes to art.
Even work whose meaning is commonly agreed upon can be opened for reinterpretation by a new viewer perspective.
If this sounds improbable, let’s perform a thought experiment:
Find an image of a well-known work of art – such as Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Look at the work. Read what art history has to say about it. Read what the web has to say. Study the work in detail. Spend time absorbing, interpreting and thinking. Form an opinion.
And then, show this work to a child and ask them what it’s all about.
Sit back and enjoy…
“Art is an irreplaceable way of understanding and expressing the world; there are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.” – Dana Gioia