- Of art and lies
Of art and lies
Ok google. Open Spotify.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a live music concert by one of the best known artists on the current international music scene. What a surprise! There were four of us in that concert hall. I thought that, well, maybe this way I could enjoy the performance better.
When it was over, I was able to talk to the other three attendees and, they all commented the same thing: lately, no one goes to concerts because music has become something only for musicians. People didn’t understand if what they were listening to was good or bad, if it was worth paying for or not… they couldn’t even decide if they personally liked it or not… so, in the face of so much confusion, they decided not to listen to music, and by extension not to go to any concerts.
What a pity, really, if the music is going to disappear. Nobody cares anymore. With the amount of messages, values, poetry and emotions it conveyed… With everything that united us, with all that made us live, share, understand…
Now musicians are singing about music itself. The lyrics talk about notes, about impossible compositions, about taking the music to a higher level… and of course, only the musicians understand it, and only the musicians are interested.
That’s too bad. If only it were true.
This isn’t really happening, you know, at least with music. Actually, it’s happening with ART. And it’s been happening for several decades.
Painting, perhaps, is more likely to recruit thinkers and philosophers, people more interested in studying culture than in living it, sharing it or producing it. The art world has always been full of pedantic, annoying, marginalized or socially unskilled people, who end up expressing their vital needs through an indirect medium such as painting, writing, photography… This is the reality.
The case of music was similar until, perhaps, because of the mass consumer society, we started to turn musicians into a kind of gods, saints to be prayed to with their own musical prayers, and that has saved them. Music more easily awakens emotions and thoughts, even desires. Mathematical sound has that magic, it activates the strings with which we think and remember, and we love that.
But what about the painting?
Painters, especially since the 19th century, strive to be outsiders, bohemians, characters out of any classification or prevision. When we create we compose, we use pieces that already exist to create new elements, but we have to put it all together from nonmeaning to reach something new that, sometimes, has a new meaning. This is creativity, and it hooks you, and you end up doing the same with everything around you.
This is why it is said that art is a language, not only because, again sometimes, it serves to express, but because it is composed of meaningless particles (letters) that grouped together form logical structures that represent something real (words). In this way, an artist chooses a word from the dictionary, decomposes it, rearranges it, perhaps mixes it with other words, some words he has heard from someone influential, and thus “creates” (nothing can be created, I have already said it. It is COMPOSED!) a new word with a new meaning. Pure genius. Ask Picasso.
Now, let’s imagine that our genius composes hundreds of words that, well, only he understands.
It’s a kind of language of his own that no one else understands. Does this make sense? What good is a language if it’s not to communicate with others? Well, it can have aesthetic purposes, like Tolkien’s Quenya, which looks very nice but let’s not fool ourselves, it’s not practical for communication… and not even for taking notes. Or it can have a playful function, we’re just playing at creating languages because creating languages is fun and enriching. I don’t know!
And here’s the problem.
We’ve all moved past the “what is art“, “this is art” and “this is not art” debate. My cunt is art. My five-year-old daughter can do that.
It’s my opinion, and it should be yours too, that in the end art is everything created by an intelligent being with a motivation beyond the merely functional.
That is to say.
Let’s imagine the first glass in history. It would be a bowl, half a coconut, a braided leaf… anything that fulfilled a function. Beautiful. But once we have controlled the technique, we realize that perhaps it is not decent for the head of the tribe to drink her camel’s sputum in a bowl of braided palm, like all the others, and that perhaps it should have a shape, a color, inlays that make it beautiful, pleasant, that speak of the status of the person who possesses it, that speak of the creativity, the talent, the time in which the artist who creates it lives…
It is no longer something functional, it is beginning to be something with an additional motivation, with a message, which has information. Even when it’s something aesthetic, it’s talking about the taste of that time, the environment, the resources… It’s an object with information.
And then the objects are surpassed and art reaches the actions, the words, the sounds, the movements, the war strategies, the clothes, the structure of society itself…
In everything there is information that the human being, in our case, has added for others.
Everything is art.
And why are we no longer interested in art?
Art interests us, but we don’t realize it. What doesn’t interest us is art that talks about art. That’s an unbearable pain.
From Marcel Duchamp and his pisser, after Klein and his “paint” paintings, and even Hirst and his colored dots or Jeff Koons and his plastic dolls made by other people… art has talked about nothing but itself.
Artists have experimented with techniques and means to talk about art. No longer do they talk about love, death, society, beauty… now they talk about the possibilities of art itself. How far can the definition of art, of painting, of sculpture, of performance go. They speak of perception, of the material, of the interpretative… of increasingly abstract and meta-artistic concepts that, frankly, no longer interest us as artists.
And there’s the culprit. Artists and scholars may be interested in this art, but who cares how black a black color can be, how a white canvas on a white background can be called art, how a Serbian woman counts grains of rice until the audience goes into hysteria…
Nobody cares about that.
So… here I am, singing alone.
I spend most of my time in a 50-foot room, surrounded by paint, in a quiet little house in southern Spain. Here rents are cheaper, and one can be an artist without having to work at Pull&Bear or Mercadona.
My work is to compose images about things that not only concern me, and come from my life experience, but I know that they concern us all, even if you don’t accept it. My aim is visibility. To be seen. Because I think, arrogantly and I don’t know if objectively, that what I have to say is important, and that I can make others feel a little less lonely.
But, unfortunately, very few manage to find me. Those who get to meet me thank me, and I thank them. But there are many people who will never receive a message they need and perhaps I have, because art is boring, it’s only for people who “understand art“. Don’t let any self-appointed representative of art tell you what is good and expensive, and what is vulgar and brut. If your 5-year-old daughter can do it, if with a mop and a lighter you can do it, if it doesn’t make you feel anything, if it doesn’t mean anything, if you can’t have it in your house… it will be art, but it’s not good.
Painting, and art in general, has to be like music. We all know whether we like something or not. Nobody says “Oops, I don’t understand Rosalía”, “I don’t know if this pop music is good”, “My 5-year-old daughter sings like Enrico Caruso in the morning”.
Believe me, if you like it, it’s good. If you don’t like it, it’s bad art. You were right.
And you, contemporary gallery owners, fuck you.