What follows is NOT an attack to any person making installations and exposing them in museums! It is only my personal reflection on the subject. If it triggers thoughts in your mind, it means that we somehow interact. As humans should do.
Some present day creators make objects that offer the public an experience.
Since that object cannot be bought (most of times it defies the purpose of inhabiting a private home), it often cannot be exposed anywhere else than a museum. That’s what calls the creator an artist.
S/he often uses materials “new in the art-field”, often needs to collaborate with engineers, technicians, artisans because s/he cannot make that object exist beyond her/his ideas and sketches.
The object often is “justified” and “explained” by art critics and curators as an opportunity to have an unusual experience, provoked thoughts never before provoked.
To all this, I say that a walk in a real forest, alone or with a friend, staring into someone’s eyes, visiting a country, all that and more, can also be an experience, if you cultivate yourself to receive that experience. I only mentioned “natural” experiences, leaving out any other art form.
If any of these installations offer an experience that enters our consciousness by means that no other medium does, then I think it fully justifies its existence.
(I remember a film teacher I used to have who was saying: if you can fully tell your story in writing, better write a book, it’s cheaper. If, on the other hand, your film brings together languages and is more than the component parts, go for the film!)
That is why most “conceptual art” (c.a.) doesnt work for me: In c.a. the main idea is the strongest element, like an opera diva covering the whole choir and orchestra. Once the idea has “shocked/surprised” you, there’s seldom nothing else left to watch or come back to it. Very, very few exceptions!
I have no problem considering the installation creators artists. I do have a problem with the public (often poorly educated and not really with an opinion of their own) who dis-consider the traditional visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpture), voice against them as passe, uninteresting, boring. That, of course, says something about the public’s own capacity of digesting visual arts. More power to the people, the shout of democracy covers the echo of a violin.
There is no moral in my post.
Arts, not just the record of the wars, is what is left to tell the story of our times. You can’t, shouldn’t “force” yourself into loving classical or contemporary art executed in the line developed by tradition. To be honest, you couldn’t force yourself into loving anything.
I do hope present and future arts will first speak to your emotions and not listen to trends. Dont like Warhol because it’s hip to like Warhol. Don’t wear a beard because it’s trendy. Do what makes you happy, because this is your life, not a dress rehearsal. Power doesn’t come from the number of people in the group you’ve joined. That is safety. Safety is needed by weak life.
Pictures under: Capacitor, by John Grade