Art As An Encounter | Issue | Philosophy Now
A visual artist encountering a work of art will look to see if there is anything of use by the viewer is the alternative to the traditional approach to understanding an . one component of the painting functioned in relation to the rest of the work. It's not overnight that art went from something you see to something you that viewers have the wherewithal to do their part, art has a chance. Is an artist's idea of what their work means more important than the Offline reading. Tailored to you. FREE – in Google Play. View. Close And further complicating these relationships is that many artists who And if so, does the artist's expressed intention trump the viewer's interpretation of the work?.
Derrida uses various strategies in his onslaught on our most basic assumptions. This was not a comfortable experience for the group, who found his constantly shifting frames of reference and wordplay intensely destabilising. The most useful aspect of this commentary for the action—research project was that it revealed the underlying dangers in two common responses to looking at art and making what seems like a reasonable interpretation: The personal response is a vital part of any reading of a work of art, but it must be tempered by the discipline of looking with both depth and breadth and the courage to challenge even our most basic assumption about a work.
It also introduced the notion of instability into the experience of interpretation, which was a recurring feature of the project. One might argue that the issue of authority is particularly pertinent to art teachers. But teachers do not need to be an authority on all potential meanings of art works they and their pupils encounter. Each day of the summer school took one of the four Ways of Looking frameworks and tested and expanded it through a mix of gallery-based activities and discussion of excerpts from set texts.
Taking the personal approach as the first framework for looking is a principle located within constructivist learning theory which posits that the construction of meaning depends on the prior knowledge, values and beliefs of the viewer, who finds points of connection and reference between these aspects of themselves and the art work.The viewer as the artist
They are not the same thing. It is about the connections a viewer brings to their reading from their experience of the world. While on the one hand personal responses can provide fertile ground for exploration, if treated unreflexively they can stymie interpretation as the art work is submerged beneath the poetry of personal association, reaching a discursive dead end.
Thus, the process of developing interpretations was achieved through expanding on personal responses and building up new habits of looking at art through a programme of activity centred teaching in the gallery. After a short period of looking one minute at Anslem Kiefier Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom,the group wrote down their initial responses to the work in a stream of consciousness format: The battle for power — nature or mankind?
One person was allotted the role of interviewer, the other interviewee. This reflexive critique of an initial personal response aimed to uncover some of the biases and assumptions upon which readings of art works were made.
Diagrammatically mapping the process of enquiry demonstrates how fertile a personal response to an art work can be when treated reflexively. Already this response is literally located in a specific world view — an aerial one. This prompts a layering of associations — she relates the river tributaries to cracks in concrete, which in turn become metaphorical cracks in notions of republics and nationhood.
A consideration of her emotional responses to the work records feelings of fascination about the ideas in the piece and its method of production. Thinking about the processes involved in making the work leads her to wonder what the seemingly random paths of the ants might represent — which in turn invokes thoughts of rationality and chance.
In the plenary session the teacher-researcher spoke of how intrigued and surprised she was by this process of tracking her responses. Her diagram references particular world views and knowledge brought into play by the art work, for example a political language of republics, nationhood, invasion, force and power and a philosophical language of belief systems, of free will, reason and chance.
Personal responses reveal belief structures.
Contemporary Art and the Role of Interpretation – Tate Papers | Tate
The dialectical approach provided checks and balances on personal responses, enabling the interviewee to stay focused on the art work.
This makes keeping up with subject knowledge something of a challenge. Teaching pupils the skills of interpretation in such a precedent-defying discipline as contemporary visual art poses the question of the status of knowledge.
The anti-traditional nature of contemporary visual art means that there is no accompanying stable or substantive body of knowledge, but rather a plethora of theoretical and critical texts which ebb and flow around and within the art. Finding a way into an art work which has meaning for pupils does not necessarily tally with knowing everything there is to say about an artwork. Teacher-researchers were invited to curate a route of between three and five works through the galleries using the Looking at the Subject framework as a way of making links between the works.
The selected works could demonstrate how artists had expanded or problematized the overall theme of the display. However, it is fair to say that the resulting routes were muddled; rather than making arguments for connections based on what could be seen, links were made through referencing a priori chunks of knowledge about the artists or the art works. The routes were not a set of interpretations but instead a collective, disjunctive effort of rehearsed information which was not based on visual evidence.
This makes possible the contradictions between many viewpoints and a single viewpoint, which is where dialogue starts. A priori knowledge can limit the way we look by tripping us up into making false connections and leading to a discursive dead-end rather than coming to a place of open ended-ness.
Activities which make it difficult to recreate the chosen work pushed the teachers to focus on one aspect of the art work, extrapolate and develop it.
This led to a focus on the decisions behind formal qualities in the work. Deliberately limiting options only using collaged gummed paper, reducing a work to five lines, etc. It allows them to avoid the pressure of feeling they have to demonstrate skill once again this is about avoiding the temptation to fall back on a position of authority.
The examples from the Looking Logs suggest the importance of allowing time for a purely physical response to an art work based on its objecthood. Questions are posed and thus the discussion opens out. At the centre of this diagrammatic enquiry into the hard-edged mirror cubes is a circle: An Exploded View, T is interpreted through a collage which extrapolates the strong formal dynamics of the work and the careful placement of objects in what initially seems a random, chaotic arrangement fig.
Despite the inaccessibility of the Russian poster text, meaning could still be construed through reading the formal qualities of the works — design decisions about point of view, font size and choice of graphics, the formal relationship between word and image.
Responding to the works in collage, the group used newspaper print to create new interpretations of a poster of their choice. We also talked about which kind of art the group preferred — the art they felt communicated simple positions clearly or the more ambiguous approach offered by for example the Kiefer and Horn work — dealing with similar themes but with completely different intentions. The Looking Log examples demonstrate the investment of time and thought the group brought to developing new and personalised ways of recording information.
We experimented with diagrammatic forms of recording responses for example, exploring the hang in a particular room or more linear, flow-chart approaches when we were thinking about the stages of individual looking looking deeper, looking again.
Artists define communication with the viewer with paintings
Throughout, we asked the teacher-researchers to draw on areas of their own expertise to create a personal shorthand for recording their experiences. Untitled is an old-fashioned wardrobe which has been filled with concrete, into which a domestic wooden chair has been buried. The group engaged initially with the work through stream of consciousness writings in which its material properties were uppermost, evidenced through a parity of responses and moments of coalescence.
- Message understood?
Boarded up Lion, Witch, Wardrobe — dream shut off, cold, frustrated household object. Wood looking out of cement — stuck, lodged, uncomfortable, tight. They were both generic notions of the domestic sphere being violated or made mute, resonances of past lives and generations and culturally located multiple references to C.
Both the Soviet Graphics and the Salcedo works were interpreted as having a particular meaning arising from a particular political context, of which the artists would want the viewer to be aware.
Artists define communication with the viewer with paintings
In exploring context as a way of looking at an art work, the question arose of where to introduce contextual information. The group decided that this depends on how clearly information is communicated by the work. Even if we do not know the specific language or political context of an art work, what can we get from it purely by looking?
There are two main reasons for this. An absolute respect for this subjectivity is required in order for the art appreciator to obtain the most from each individual artistic expression.
Art As An Encounter
This respect has made the work of art untouchable in many ways, and more often than not has isolated the viewer from the purposes of the artist. Second, the growth of all forms of artistic movements and ways of expression has resulted in the massive proliferation of the artworks available to the person on the street, making it a Herculean task to keep up even with the mainstream of art.
Even as artwork of all kinds has become more accessible to all, there seems to be a loss of perspective with respect to aesthetic thought and purpose since the birth of Impressionism in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. This growth, as I said, needs to be accompanied by a better understanding of art and artwork, and not only by focusing on the quantitative growth of the industry.
Does this imply that there may be something wrong with conceptual or abstract art? Any work of art poses a great challenge to spectators: Why would this be a challenge? And if it is such a daunting task, why would anyone care for art?
We can rightfully begin to have at least the suspicion that such values are the subject matter or maybe even the essence we apprehend in the work of art.
We can then perceive the painting as something that can be esteemed. No matter of what type of art it is, it not only presupposes the existence of values for both artist and audience: In other words, artworks not only presuppose values, but in doing so asks the spectator to become critical of his own values, assumptions, and prejudices. So, at the same time as it molds culture, art can mold the way society perceives itself, and also shape the way it would like to be perceived in the future.
Nevertheless, the comparatively solid ground upon which culture is built is values, even in the everyday sense of the term. Kasimir Malevich, Taking In The Rye The Values of Art Before we go any further we must however dig deeper into what was said about the existence of values within a work of art. Thus it is fair to ask if it is possible that a painting for example can be free of any form of values whatsoever.
If so, we must then ask ourselves, what then is the foundation of a painting, or indeed any work of art? With this question I only want to say that an aspect of aesthetics is the expression of values — albeit maybe the most fundamental aspect. Therefore we must proceed to ask whether it is possible to have works of art that are devoid of values.