Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Are we really the artist?

I've had to ask myself recently, am I the author of my art?  Do I create my own story for people around me to read?  Or...and I am speaking more broadly now, is our life story dictated to by the people (the viewer) manipulating and molding the decisions we make? That's kind of heavy going considering we probably all think we are in total control!  So, if we artists create an object that is scrutinized by the audience/critic, who all have their own opinions on what it means to them, does their interpretation change the concept we have placed into the object?  My learning curve for this week is all about who the author really is.....if you hadn't already guessed! If there is no person with an emotional connection to the work, creating the work, then how can it be made in the first place?

I had time to reflect on these things recently while at WOMAD.  There, the music flowed and people danced with not a whole lot of direction, but heaps of passion!  The music and the people who played the instruments were in control, yet I could see there was this underlying symbiotic relationship happening....artist and audience fed off each other, evolved, bounced ideas off each other.  During that time of dance and reflection an artist friend of mine suggested that I should consider the viewer is the artist.  That's scary to me.  Does the viewer direct the show?  I know that within the world of 'production art' it's possibly true, due to the fact that the galleries are dictated to by the people who spend the money.  I am a romantic.  I like to think an artist is driven to make work that tells their story in some way....that they are communicating who they are through their art.  Is the author/artist/maker dying a slow death?

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