2006-06-26 14:25

The Value Of Difficulty

I am not an artistic person. I am not able to appreciate whole arts (poetry doesn't move me, Lyric Singing annoys me). But I do have a taste, which is my own, although I understand it is not exactly good taste.

Now, what do I like?, or rather, why do I like it? Does it say something about me?

I find that I don't like any form of art without intrinsic difficulty. Or rather, that I enjoy more if it is somewhat difficult technically.

For example, I know all the theory behind why this is supposed to be a great painting:

http://lateral.blogsite.org/static/Hermann-Nitsch-Splatter2.jpg

Quoting:

Hermann Nitsch's work draws parallels between religion and the ritualistic spiritualism of creativity. Heavily entrenched in ancient philosophy and a dissident, questioning Christian theology, he actively seeks catharsis through pain and compassion, a rigorously disciplined quest for ethereal release and enlightenment through an embracing of primal instinct and ancient sacrament.

Ermmm... I see mostly a red blotch, which I suppose makes me a philistine.

On the other hand, I see this, and I actually see a lot more that fits that description:

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/greco/greco.christ-traders-temple.jpg

I like Ingres more than Rothko, I like Rubens more than Picasso... maybe I am just old fashioned?

I think not. I think I despise those who decide to master a game with no rules, where you can declare yourself winner without contrasting yourself to other players. That's why we watch the football world cup and not other games, because it's damn hard and you have to do it with your feet. I think modern painting is taking the ball in your hands and declaring yourself revolutionary.

This outlook, that having a good technique, a domain of a difficult craft before bothering with art has some strange effects in my life. I don't like the low hanging fruit. But then again, I am not really tall enough or strong enough for the one that's on the hard to reach branches.

That leads to a life of almost unending frustration and yearning, yet gives me lots of energy, and I think I have come to do some things I wouldn't have done had I settled for easier pickings.

I have been working for years on how to harness that thrust for my own benefit, and I am not too good at it yet. Maybe that's the toughest craft I need to master, and I am working on it.

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