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Art -Truth or Lies?

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.

art zagarias

 

 

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

Writing from Another’s Perspective

Is it OK for one person to write from another’s perspective? Can a Chinese person write an account, from a Westerner’s perspective? Is it justifiable for a Westerner to write a book on Chinese history? These questions are being flung from writer to writer.

It is considered morally wrong, for writers to gain financially from another person’s story; to propagate evils such as xenophobia, racism and sexism; or to degrade other human beings by openly, discretely, jokingly or cryptically attacking cultural practices, belief systems, physical appearances or personal integrities.

Likewise it is morally wrong for a writer to disguise his/her identity in order to sneak a piece of writing onto a platform that were distinctly created to accommodate a specific gender or race (to which this writer does not belong) thereby stealing a publishing space from a rightful candidate.

What about writers who are able to empathise with the suffering of fellow human beings, to the point of them choosing to spend their time and money on researching; living among; or imagining themselves in the shoes of their subjects? These writers, generally have pure intensions. They usually aim to spread awareness on certain social issues, document histories or create works of fiction.

Whether writers with good intentions consistently deliver accurate accounts or commentaries, is debatable. One wants to ask, if it is possible to present second-hand reports on historical events or personal experiences, as the truth? To answer this, one should consider that all forms of writing (whether presented as fiction or non-fiction) are being constructed from, and is influenced by a writer’s personal frame of reference; cognitive perception; moral judgements; and emotional impressions at any specific moment in time. This makes it difficult to judge not only second-hand, but even first-hand reports. However, readers and most writers, tend to trust works of non-fiction that have been judged, selected, edited and published by trusted professionals with years of experience in a specific field of expertise.

It is also being said that first-hand reports make for stronger written accounts. My question is: can a piece of writing be trusted because it was written from first-hand experience or is truth created by the perception created by a writer’s voice/style (regardless of affiliation)?

Furthermore, would the act of judging: who should, or should not be, allowed to write from another person’s perspective, not be constructing a “censorship” framework for  writers and writing in general…?

When it comes to writing fiction, writers seem to have a little more freedom. By the way, who, apart from a reader, in her/his capacity as a reader, (under the influence of a personal perspective) may be deemed fit to judge any piece of fictional writing written from another’s perspective? Fiction is, after all, measured by opinion and preference.

Is it not, that all works of art are made from objects or from subject matter that already exist? Is it not the combination of an artist’s creativity; technical skills; experience with- and knowledge of subject matter that produces either ordinary or extraordinary works? Whether created from first- or second-hand accounts, no-one, not even the artists themselves, can degrade certain artwork’s greatness. The viewers, listeners or readers wouldn’t have to see, hear or praise the artists. 

Great works of art (in any genre), can after completion, stand alone. They no longer need the support of their creators. Their value is beyond question.

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Personal Perspective