“Art is a lie that makes us realise truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.” (Pablo Picasso)
What truth is given to us to understand? Many believe that objective reality is the only given truth. We detect this truth with our five senses and understand it by linking the information gathered from new objective experiences to established perceptions.
If Picasso is saying that individuals realise objective reality as truth only after it has deliberately been changed into a lie, through the process we call art –it may imply that personal truths, when realised by most human beings, become collective truths. Is this what Andy Warhol referred to when he said: “Art is what you can get away with.”?
There are many ways in which visual artists change reality into so called lies. Some make conscious decisions, based on their physical skills to present physical reality in new ways. This may result in poorly or excellently executed replicas of the truth, as an objective reality. For example a portrait or a photo-realistic painting, still life, landscape, photograph etc.) However true to real life, these replicas remain a lie, in the presence of original things.
Surrealists like Dali, express imagined possibilities by (for example) combining unrelated things or by giving rare features to existing things. Artists that make abstract art, deliberately change the shapes, colours and lines of reality into “lies” by for example generating a landscape with circular trees and triangular mountains.
Sometime artists produce physical representations of their mental worlds. Rather than aesthetic alternatives of reality, they aim to turn their concepts into objects -usually to inform, interest, revolt or shock existing social, scientific, cultural or political realities into new awarenesses (often seen as lies), -awarenesses of how they would like truth to become.
Then there are artists, who like Elbert Hubbard believe that “art is not a thing, it is a way.” They allow their natural flow to create effortless, thoughtless, variations of reality, for the sake of making art. The purpose of their art is found in the process, not the end product. Apparently they apply minimum control and maximum free will during the process. It so happens that fragments of reality can always be found even in their works –think of Pollock’s random paint drippings.
Zagarias is another such artist, who calls his automatic figurative drawings expressions of the human spirit. His method reminds of Pollock and his images of Picasso. (see him draw live here).
If objective reality is the only truth, then art cannot be a lie because art originated from objective reality. However, when compared to nature it seems reasonable to call artworks lies. CC