Tag Archives: language

Thought #59. Is art facing a major crisis?

An good artist is somehow like a great speaker. We can draw a comparison between the process of writing a compelling speech and that of creating a great piece of art; they are both perfect examples of daunting tasks. Why do artists take the centre stage with criticism?

Artists and speakers usually face an uphill struggle to convey the message aspired to. That is because, in order to communicate effectively, it is not enough to have something to say. In fact, the message does not necessarily have to be clear as day. Sometimes, it is slightly obscure and that is perfectly suitable. However, if speeches and pieces of art are not charged with genuine emotion, they will not be worthwhile at all.

Apart from emotion, some technicalities are required. Whereas a speaker must choose the words carefully and put them together using the appropriate register and tone for the occasion, an artist, say a painter for example, would go through colours, materials and techniques to build up the picture that, eventually, will contain the wordless message in which his creation is based on.

The crux of the creative process, though, is that the language used in art changes rapidly and, therefore whatever is a craze today, it may not be tomorrow. Our taste in art evolves ceaselessly over the time in marked contrast to our language preferences that tend to be far more stable.

Precisely because it is language the means that artists have to do their job, when a new generation emerges, art can become inscrutable for the layman. The lack of connection between artists and the public has little to do with the quality of their work, though. We cannot blame the public either. It all goes back to communication.

For a message to be transmitted between A and B, both need to talk and understand the same language. Sometimes artists create they own new one and it takes time to disclose it. Sometimes they get stuck in the past and are unable to adapt to current trends. But regardless of that, there exist exclusive pieces of art which are atemporal and stand the test of time, language and contemporary criticism.