Sunday, 28 August 2016

What is Art?

Damien Hirst's 'Away from the flock'

According to the English dictionary, Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as a painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. But when we look past the dictionary definition of art we find that art really can be anything. Just take a look round the Tate Modern and you will realize this soon enough. Last year I went to the Tate Modern with my school as part of my Art GCSE course and as we walked around the gallery with our clip boards and pencils making rough sketches of the artworks we saw, I remember thinking 'is this really art?'. I was seeing so called 'art' such as a slit in a canvas (below) and messy paint splatters such as Jackson Pollock's artwork. I then remember thinking 'if this is art then anyone can be an artist'.
'Spatial Concept Waiting'
by Lucio Fontana
I could do exactly what Tracy Emin did and recreate my messy bed and call it art. That would make me an artist, just like Tracy Emin. I could get a massive canvas and start splatting paint all over it randomly and thoughtlessly and call it art. That would make me an artist, just like Jackson Pollock. I could cut a sheep in half like Damian Hurst did and... well you probably get the gist of it now. The fact that the artwork (above) was in the Tate Modern was quite shocking to me. Anyone can put a slit in a canvas and call it 'art'. So this brings me to the conclusion that art can be anything as long as it's an artist's state of expression or if it has a sort of profound meaning behind it. So I could ultimately empty a bag of rubbish onto the floor, arrange the rubbish items in a creative and meaningful way and call it art. Modern art really is strange.

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'
In the 1700s and 1800s art nearly always used to consist of paintings with fine details like the post impressionist Van Goph's 'Starry Night'. Why is this painting so famous? Because it's got Van Gogh's unique and intricate detail and style. It probably doesn't have a pretentious meaning behind it, it's just pleasing to the eye. And this also relates to other famous paintings like Monet's 'Water Lilies' or Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. Back in the times of the 1700s and 1800s you really had to be a good painter to be a good artist. Art really has come a long way throughout the ages. It's very rare these days to see a cave drawing or an elaborate painting of a nude body. Today, art is a lot more abstract... you actually have to think about what you are seeing... especially if you are in the Tate Modern.

Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies for Figures at a Base of a Crucifixion'

I personally like the artwork from Francis bacon (above) due to the abstract, unrealistic images which portray the artist's impression of morbid images. The painting above was created in 1944 and at that time many people were shocked to see such a strange, blunt painting. I personally love art which makes the viewer shocked or taken aback, just like Francis Bacon or modern street artist Banksy's work. But this is what I think good art is, you may completely disagree with me. 

Image result for tate modern art mondrian
Mondrian's 'Composition No.III with Red, Yellow and Blue'

So this brings us back to the vital question 'what is art?'. This question has come up so often and many people have said various different answers. Many people will argue that art simply cannot be defined. I think it can be anything which expresses yourself (with an idea, view point or an emotion) through a product made with aesthetic or communicative purpose. With this said, anyone can be an artist and anyone can create art.

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