White on white

I was having dinner with a friend in a little spanish terrace about two years ago.

We were initially talking about adrenaline, work, the summer and then out of the blue he asked me a question that has stayed with me until today.

“Could you please explain to me why a person can cry in front of a painting or a piece of art?, are you born with this sensitivity,  or is this a learned behavior, is it taught?.

In the most humble attempt to try to answer this question, I told him that at least for me there are clearly certain things that move me or excite me, that deep down it all comes down to how it makes you feel. Though I have to admit that ever since I started studying and finding out more of the historical background of the work and  the lives  and inspirations of the artists it gives the pieces a broader depth and power.

Then, I thought of my grandmother and  we’ve developed very sweet conversations on the phone (we are old school, no skype) , where she  asks me about what I am doing in the university, she enjoys hearing stories about the things I see, the people I meet, why I do what I do and asks a lot of questions.

When I visit, I love showing her my friend’s work , photos of things I saw in museums and hearing what she thinks about the pieces, sometimes she just laughs but other times she usually starts the  sentence with  ” This reminds me of…” and associates it with her own life.

Which brings me to the answer of how I would answer the  question today. It all  comes down to  have the desire and curiosity to truly observe and keep asking questions, art conveys individual emotions but you have to be willing to be in the receiving part.

Like I said this was two years ago, ever since from time to time I have asked a few of my teachers and friends this question as well and it leads to very interesting conversations.

What do you think?

Today I leave you with a painting by Kazimir Malevich which he considered “the supremacy of pure feeling.”

“Only when the habit of one’s consciousness to see in paintings bits of nature, Madonna’s and shameless nudes.. ..has disappeared, shall we see a pure painting composition. I have transformed myself into the nullity of forms and pulled myself out of the circle of things, out of the circle-horizon in which the artist and forms of nature are locked.”

  • as quoted in: Marc Chagall, – a Biography, Sidney Alexander, Cassell, London, 1978, p. 178

whiteonwhite

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One thought on “White on white

  1. I think, the most beautiful and purest thing of being human is feeling what someone else feels. Art in its best form evokes a feeling… if that art can take you to the closest place the artist felt when that artist created that piece… its the closest thing to art that can be. I think.. to understand art.. one must first have empathy. To feel what others feel. Once that is felt art is an intrinsic thing.

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