Monday, 16 January 2012

The Art of Awe

January: Thought I'd skip the new year resolutions (while secretly promising myself to spend more time at exhibitions - particularly relevant ones).

Yesterday I went to see Anselm Kiefer's Il Mistero delle Cattedrali at White Cube,  Bermondsey. This exhibition is vast, it's scale befitting its title; Great big paintings and sculptures, both weathered and worn, that made me feel like someone from the future staring back at our civilization today, and finding it's massive municipal buildings and constructions weird and wonderfull (in much the same way that we stare back at the ancient Egyptians). I spent the first 20 mins wandering around awestruck. I then spent the following 20 mins feeling depressed about my own work - so less grand, so less awe inspiring.

It's an interesting thing coming across artwork that impresses. At first it can be enigmatic - amazing, yet impenetrable. And bit by bit, as you grow accustomed to it's cracks and crevices (quite literally with the exhibition above), the work begins to loose it's luster. Still impressive. No less of an acheivement. But not so magical. I think it's always worth bearing in mind that while what can inspire you is important, it can also bring you low. I am still a little bewitched by Kiefer's Il mistero delle cattedrali painting (with a rock hung before it on a large measuring device of some description), and long may this feeling last.

As the author of a work I think it's always worth keeping in mind that you know it's ins and outs, and while it may be lost on you, that magic may not be lost on others. There, I've made art sound like a card trick, and why the hell not?

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