Issue #247 / July 2023
I am currently witnessing the awe inspiring beauty of a fierce thunderstorm. Earlier today, I had a meeting with a very well connected artist. We discussed my work. He said something to me that I’ve heard before from others: that my work has to participate in the socio-political discourse. The work needs to call into question immediate and “relevant” topics. In my work I strive for something ineffable and timeless. Why do I have to put words to something where language can’t begin to scratch the surface of the ultimate beauty that permeates it. Like this thunderstorm.
ISABELLA, PARIS, FRANCE
I’m sorry that this man offered you such tiresome advice. Perhaps he thinks that producing art that presents a particular world view is the only way for you to climb the ladder. Unfortunately, these days, this may be true. I find your own words about your work encouraging though, and I can imagine that concepts such as the ‘ineffable ’and ‘timelessness ’will be absolutely foreign to this person’s outlook, which seems concerned only with the topical and the uncomplicated. Perhaps your friend is keen for you to conform to a particular view that he himself holds. If so, sadly, he is providing counsel from the shallowest possible place imaginable, his own ideological bathwater.
Be wary of anyone who denies art its true complex and eternal nature, repurposing it for their own political contrivances. Art should not lecture or talk down to us or reprimand us. There is little left of the sacred in the modern world, but great art still offers us an opportunity to experience the hallowed, the mysterious and the reverential. For me, art of true significance chaffs against the prescribed modes of the day on its way to the transcendental. We are humbled by its power, as it reflects back to us something about the enigma of our own nature. We stand before it, quieted and awed, touched by the eternal.
So here’s to art, Isabella! Here’s to freedom! Send your well connected artist packing and continue to listen to your own thundering heart. That awesome sound you hear is the trembling of true art as it rumbles and calls to your very soul.