It is easy to get tired of pictorial art in all its classic monotony.
Figurative art that repeats itself over and over again. Walking between the exhibition rooms I wish it would be more interesting. More alive. I’m getting tired of the predictably beautiful, classical art. Room upon room with van Dyck Rembrandt, Titian and all I can think of is “please give me a Picasso, a Mondrian, a Rothko or, even, a Manet or Monet”. But no. Nothing expressive or challenging for the imagination. Too often is it classical and uniform. Boring.
Having realized that it is the exciting, the challenging, the unpredictable which appeal to me in art, I wonder why everything should just be beautiful and pleasing on the eye? The traditional art does so easily become monotonous, and, dare I say it, unimaginative. It becomes a ready and predictable product seen before, if so in a different, but oh so familar, shape. Because beauty in all its excellence, in all its splendid perfection, just isn’t enough. It is not enough to engage the mind, raise questions, not enough to get reactions out of our numb contemporary minds. Perhaps beauty, harmony, balance and perfection was enough three hundred years ago. Not today though. Today, we need to be shaken out of our slumber. Shaken out of our comfort zone. Beauty, or reflections over beauty can be seen everywhere at any given time in today’s society. Walk along any street in any town in any country and we are inundated with pictures and reflections of “perfect people”. Young beautiful women advertising perfume or lingerie for Victoria’s Secret. Well muscled young beautiful boys advertising the latest jeans cut for Abercrombie & Fitch. We don’t need to go to an art gallery to see perfection and beauty. Simply open the door, walk a few steps along the street and we’ll drown in it. Beauty. Perfection. Ideal bodies. Expensive fabrics.
So why isn’t perfect enough? It seems a contradiction in itself that one wants more than what is created into perfection. But exactly because of that, I’d say. Perfection is predictable and boring. It is not challenging for the intellect. We humans must be challenged to use our senses adventurously. Complete perfection within art doesn’t allow our minds to expand, our imagination to fly, our minds to be filled with experiences that can not be had anywhere else. It is within that the greatness of the art lies. To be able to create a window in the mundane everyday situation that one otherwise cannot look through. We are robbed of this opportunity when, and where, perfection rules. The art must be mind blowing. It must stimulate all senses. When you leave an exhibition and say “well, that was rather nice” the art has failed. When the art has raised something within us we didn’t knew we had, set fire to an idea we didn’t know ourselves being able to have or stirred something within us that we haven’t felt for a long time then, and only then, has the art fulfilled it’s purpose. To engage. To open up. To stimulate. To stir.
The Impressionists broke with the purely figurative art. Monet painted trains and smoke under the cast iron roof of Gare Saint Lazare in 1877. Already then did he realize that the exact and figurative, the almost copied and art without feelings was a waste of time. A waste of the artists, the viewing public and his contemporaries time. Let us not make the mistake not to move forward. Let’s follow Monets’ ideal. It might be almost hundred and fifty years ago but it is as relevant today as it was then. Let us be inspired, but move forward. Let us be engaged, stimulated and let our senses be opened with the help of the contemporary arts.
It can’t be to late.