DVD’s - Art:21, & Art:21 Protest
Herbert Read writes in Art and Society "Art is a chance to “revolt and make a point”.
Watching 'Art:21' made me realise the purpose of political art is a way of protesting and having an effective interaction and relationship with the audience. In the section called Identity, one of the artists interviewed was Louise Bourgeois who said that her work is “an invitation to be friendly” and that,
“All we have to open the past with are the 5 senses… and memory”.
As the emotion in her work is true and lived, her aim is to “touch” the viewer.
Kiki Smith said that art “is a way to think… and a representation of the insides… in a physical world”.
This describes exactly what my work is about; the inside world externalised for the viewer to witness. And this exposure of humanity and feelings are a basis for the human protest.
In 'Art:21 Protest' I felt a strong affinity with what these artists were trying to achieve. Although I previously did not consider my work political or a form of protest, I think my need to reach out to the viewer, and make work about some form of “cruelty”, and this can be considered a silent and passive protest.
The artist Nancy Spero channels indignation about global injustices into her work, and this determination and passion is something that feeds and motivates me.
Another artist Alfredo Jaar said that,
“intellectual involvement, solidarity and identity are fundamental to create empathy”.
And it is empathy, as a response to the artwork, that I seek from the audience.
Jaar acknowledges the huge gap between reality and representation, yet he looks for the perfect way to communicate with an audience and says,
“Art can build bridges, open a window… it has the power to say something”.
The artist Jenny Holzer (whose work I was captivated by in The Baltic a few years ago) likes her work to be “eye-catching, engaging and thought-provoking”. Her approach, that she calls “lovely and exacting”, made me realise that in art, direct and clear words can be used to allow for obvious communication in an attractive way. Her “truisms” represent her point of view and she wants her viewer to have a strong reaction when reading her texts.
The strong thread that ties all the above artists together is the concept of ‘moral protest’. For myself, this is a strong grounding for my work.
Though my art is not an obvious protest, My humanist perspective and issues are indeed social statements about identity and equality. I realise that because of my circumstances I will inevitably tread into this territory because I seek to make the viewer aware of social struggles.