There is a blog I subscribe to, Raptitude.com and the email he sent today has helpfully provided an ‘in’ for the art filled post I wanted to write. Better than ‘I was fortunate enough to go to Tate Modern this weekend’ is ‘I read this post and it made me think about how I do this‘.
The post on Raptitude talks about the Blaise Pascal quote, “I have discovered that all the miseries of men derive from one single fact: that they cannot sit quietly in their own room” and how this is driving him to be more comfortable with sitting with his thoughts.
This is not something I have trouble with.
Sitting with my thoughts, staring into space perhaps, is already comforting to me. Although my relationship with my own brain can sometimes be…fraught…I treasure my mental capacity and I value the sometimes utterly random nature of my thoughts. Sitting and waiting for some bizarreness to occur to me is pleasurable.
What I have found though is that, if I can see a view of any sort whilst pondering the workings of my mind, I start to think about the artistic merit of what I’m looking at. How the tree I can see, denuded of leaves, reminds me of the blood vessels of the brain, for example.
I actually was fortunate enough to visit Tate Modern recently and saw two very different exhibitions there. The first was Takis, with his magnetism to create sculpture and sound.
We were lucky enough to be there just as the gong was sounding. It is rare to actually feel a piece of art reverberating through your chest! But the piece I found most moving was this one:
These metal cones are not suspended by the wires, they are straining against them, trying to reach the magnet at the other end. I found it remarkably easy to anthropomorphise those metal cones. Seeing objects, that would normally be lying motionless, being prevented from reaching the magnet pulling them, evoked a sense of frustration and longing, far beyond any natural feeling that inanimate objects usually elicit and triggered thoughts about where those emotions were really coming from.
The next exhibit we saw was Olafur Eliasson, In real life and it was truly a delight.
The first picture above made me immediately think of Star Trek. I could almost see Kirk and Spock from the original series fighting huge blob monsters in between the models.
The second piece, Beauty, is the first time I have ever thought that, were I mega-rich enough, I would buy that art installation. (I would obviously have to install a huge cave in which to house it, but as an eccentric billionaire I would probably already have one, right?)
I believe all art should be public art but art is what YOU think it is. Art enriches our lives in a multitude of ways. If staring into space, pondering how to make it, gets me past Pascal’s ‘miseries of men’ then I’ll take it.