Western Jackdaw

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Western Jackdaw

This painting was made by a 9 year old girl.
It was my very first painting, and I actually wasn’t satisfied with it, for I made it within a few minutes, and in those days I already liked creating projects better than to rush creativity.
My parents framed the painting though.
Back then, my teacher understood my annoyance with the framing, but he also told me I would be happy with it when I was older. He was right.
At this moment I look at the painting and I see confirmation of my choice to grow in being an artist.

The Cobra experience

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What do you do when it is the Dutch national museum weekend? You visit a museum of course! My boyfriend and I both never went to the Cobra museum: for both of us actually a remarkable fact. Me; because, for 5 years I studied quite near the museum, him; for he’s a Karel Appel fan. So it was time to set things right; we went to the Cobra,..

ImageSince I’ve never been to the Cobra before, I actually can’t tell a thing about the ‘normal’ collection. The normal collection probably will be cool, but the collection today was awesome, for the Cobra got more than 44 abstract masterpieces on loan from the Guggenheim, New York!

Because it was such a rare opportunity to see the paintings from the Guggenheim, this time I decided I wanted to observe art from a different perspective. Different from the way I usually observe art. For I usually first read the additional information, before I look at the work of art. I’m a cognitive viewer. I want to know where to look at, I want to know who painted it, why he painted it, I want to know how he painted it and I want to know the philosophy behind the painting. And lately, I got the feeling this cognitive viewing is not quite how art should be viewed. Also, if I would enter the Cobra Museum with this intention, I probably would get dissapointed, for cobra-art is meant to be spontaneous; deprived of any intellectual meaning.So this time, I wanted to view the artifacts from my own perspective; free from the urge to know, in order to be able to feel the art.

Did I succeed? Not quite. When I was watching this abstract statue, lots of things went through my mind. For I actually didn’t think of it as abstract. For me, it was quite obvious it resembled a succulent. ImageBut it turned out it didn’t. As soon as I turned my head to read the additional information and the name of the artifact, I found out it was called ‘Cock’ (rooster in French). I couldn’t help feeling a bit baffled. I had the intention to experience art better by not-knowing, but right now I experienced art better by knowing it’s name! For if you look at it, knowing it resembles a rooster, the shape of the artifact touches you, while it didn’t while you thought it was a succulent. Or well,.. I could just as well be the only one who had this weird experience, of course.

ImageBut while sometimes reading the additional information helps me experience the artwork better, I naturally could predict this would not work at all times. I had the weirdest experience today when I encountered this painting: Untitled from Cy Twombly. I like modern art. I like abstract art, I like looking at it and experience the clash between my own interpretation and the interpretation of the artist,.. Or the bewilderment when I find out that the artist had no goal or purpose whatsoever by creating the artwork. But this was weird. I just had to look at the accompanying text, for I couldn’t interpret this painting in any way.

But I wish I didn’t read the information. The additional text told me this was pure sex, complicated by the hermetic language of numbers and charts. I mean;… no words,.. I’m totally speechless. Sex? This? I guess this time I really should not have read any information, this time I really got punished for not following my own plan.

Fake for real

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Copies are inferior. Or not? Talking about the word copy is acknowledging the contradistinction between fake and real. In this polarity; real is desireable, while fake is not.

Today I watched a documentary about this topic. The most prominent talking head in this documentary was the philosopher Koert van Mensvoort. He promotes a less rigid division between fake and real. According to him, worshipping ‘the Real’ is a religious attitude, because the real can’t be reached.

The documentary reminded me of a book I recently read: Duel. This book was written by Joost Zwagerman; a Dutch writer who has written several books on art. The story in the book was about a fictional artist, called Emma Duiker. She’s an expert in copying paintings. Her paintings are the result of a very careful study of famous paintings. Therefore her paintings look very much alike the originals. The first issue of the book arises here: can a copy be art?

But the book introduced a second issue. For Emma Duiker swiped a very expensive original painting: no.18 of Mark Rothko. Her intention was to return it to the museum, after she exposed the painting to ‘normal’ people all over the world. This was part of an art project. Emma Duiker wanted art to be within reach of all kinds of people. She figured that art is too beautiful, too precious and too enriching to lock it away from the big crowd. People can be positively influenced by experiencing art. She wanted to give the experience of real art back to the people.

At first sight this idea is opposing the idea presented in the documentary. James Quo-Ping Lin of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan believes that artifacts are better be kept in the safe. Arts can be better preserved when they’re safe in a vault, and people can observe the art way better by means of digital copying. Quite opposing ideas right?

Still, James Lin had good intentions with this idea, intentions which resemble Emma Duiker’s. James Lin wants the world to enjoy art in a cheap, quick and easy way by distributing digital copies of art. This could be the future of art, but do we want this to be the future of art? Is it still art if it is cheap, quick and easy? Or am I spoiled, for living in the Netherlands, and therefore being able to observe real art on a daily basis, if I desire to do so.

I too wish all kinds of people were able to experience art, and if the only way to experience art, for people in Taiwan, is by means of digital copies,.. maybe it’s for the best,..

If you want to put your own ideas about fake and real to the test: you can play a very interesting game here: http://www.fakeforreal.com. Enjoy!