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March 06, 2007

Who are we to judge?

A good article in the Guardian this morning, from Mark Ravenhill, about an artistís inability to judge their own work. How true.

Itís an odd transition from the studio to the public gaze. Itís often a refreshing one, always providing you can get back at the work and correct all the glaring discrepancies. This is why itís good to have people round at the studio.

Looking at or thinking about a piece every moment of every day [and donít think that an artist doesnít contemplate their work constantly] is always self-referential. Which is okay because that is where the work comes from. But there comes a time when the message must needs be communicated to the Great Unwashed [and the Reasonably Good Washed of course]. This is where a degree of subjective judgment is required to ensure the message/emotion is not misunderstood.

Looking/watching/listening/reading a work in the company of others can be a sobering experience and serves to highlight the holes and shortfalls.

We can get into a bit of a vicious circle here of course. The work must remain an individual expression of the artist's feelings. It must not submit to constant change from without - that way leads to dilution and mediocrity. Though any work needs to be seen in context.

Always a tricky one this. Not so much for the Silver Wedding Recorder Player, or the established artist [though there are many established artists who could do with a good coat of subjectivity] but for those who are teetering on the edge of forging a living from their creative imagination, it is a hard balance to achieve.

Next time: Art and Existentialism - it is interesting that, as Mr Ravenhill says, once Out There a work is considered to always have existed, as it were.

Posted by john at March 6, 2007 12:07 PM