Unusual sources of inspiration

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with SFoxWriting’s Blog 

Earlier today Steven Fox, the blogger of SFoxWriting posted an image titled Multi Coloured Car. I have met Steven some time ago when we crossed swards over an article he had written for Don Charisma’s blog in which he was invited to argue that women make better leaders than men. Steven kindly invited me to expand on a comment I had made and this resulted in a rather more buccaneer response on my part than he had perhaps expected: Women and Leadership | The End of Men as Leaders. Leaving the past aside, today’s post intrigued me. It is only an image. There is no commentary assigned to it and it made me wonder: where do we as bloggers get our inspiration and why certain topics or indeed images appeal to us in the first place.

There is of course a certain freedom for the viewer when faced with an image that does not also provide the author’s or presenter’s opinion and story. We can assign to it whatever comes to mind. After all, the painters of old were not required to be wordsmiths. Their work spoke for itself. The same goes for certain types of photography and yet…

It took me several years to overcome my initial distaste for modern art. I could not relate to it. It did not speak to me and I found it somewhat pretentious. What was I expected to see in a blank canvas with a dot on it? The works of a Rothko or a Judd left me cold. It was the encounter with Minimalism that transformed distaste into curiosity and eventually into appreciation if not love. Specifically, Burlyuk’s words have prompted me to view this development in art in a different light: “Minimalist painting is purely realistic—the subject being the painting itself.”

The subject is the painting itself. Although he referred specifically to minimalist work, this discovery had prompted a snowball effect and I was quick to extrapolate the core of this assertion to art that did not stand comfortably within that category and beyond. It was as if a veil had been lifted and I could see beauty in the most insignificant of objects, stories coursing through space and time all due to one simple fact: they are human creations. I was ready to accept that anything and everything can be deemed art if only the creator, or even “finder” deems it to be so.

It made me reconsider the significance of Marcel Duchapm’s scandalous urinal (signed “R.Mutt” and titled Fountain) as an attempt to question the boundaries between life objects and art, as well as being a subversive dig at the seat  of authority, the art establishment figures who took it upon themselves to decide what constitutes art and what does not. In the words of an anonymous editorial that came in defence of the work:  “Whether Mr Mutt made the fountain with his own hands or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.”

To return to Steven’s post, by virtue of choosing that image and presenting it under a title, he had transformed it into more than its former self: the object gained new thought. More so, it inspired me to reply in kind with an image of an exhibition piece I have recently photographed and which I now share with you:

Tokyo Exhibition piece: Car and Light. Vic Briggs photography

The image is indicative only in part of what the exhibition piece entailed. One can only glimpse a moment in time. The play of light that emerged from full darkness and mounted in wave-like crescendo until it became incandescent, the sound of an engine about to take flight, set against the backdrop of a snow-covered Tokyo city… Context and art interacted to subdue the senses. It made one question as well as admire. I was persuaded once again that an artist will make believers of us all. Are you?

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Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

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2 thoughts on “Unusual sources of inspiration

  1. If you tell someone that a sweet (for example) tastes of raspberry and then give it to them, then most people will believe that it does. A bit of the Emperora’s New Clothes syndrome here. And so, I believe, it is with a large amount of Modern Art. The audience wants or needs to be given a contextual frame in which to form an opinion. This is fine until you consider the art-world establishment who can promote or suffocate talent almost through Chinese Whispers.
    If you’ve never seen the Tony Hancock film ‘The Rebel’ then you should – a brilliant comic take on this subject.
    Personally I find that I can pick up a sense of meaning from some works of art which I attribute to the artist’s emotional interaction with their work. This may seem a bit pretentious, but does explain why I can get more from some technically symplistic pieces than others which have involved more artistic ability.
    Thanks for a stimulating post!

    • Thank you for the recommendation, Chris. I will certainly try to find the film. I am sure it will make for interesting viewing. Thank you too for taking time to engage with my thoughts on the subject. I like your idea of meaning being derived from the artist’s emotional interaction with their work. Will keep that in mind when I am next at The Tate.
      Warm regards,
      Vic

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