Moshe Ladanga

The Art of Seeing

leave a comment »

The images are still on my retinas; the color, the immutable shapes.

Yes, my first time in the National Gallery after being in London for neary 5 months. These paintings come to life before your eyes, the pictures in books serve only as points of recognition. The paintings above are by Degas, and what floored me was the mastery of color and form, the tones, the richness forming a dialogue with the shapes in the composition. I honestly felt like these paintings were teaching me how to see for the first time.

I’ve heard that some people experience these famous works of art with a certain degree of skepticism, a self-induced reproach. I understand that, and going into the gallery I had all of these thoughts too: the pleasure of the familiar, the caveat of the work’s (or artist’s) fame, the gilded frames of the experience of the art itself. All I can say after going out of the door and plunging into the cold 5pm wind of January is that preconceptions are preconceptions- go and stand before them again and see them.

These paintings move you. As Katrin described it in her post, the experience is something so visceral, so complete. The Impressionists, in particular the great colorists, got it right. Just staring at the Degas (pictured above) breaks these formalisations of perception we learn. That is what the work of the Impressionists are about; to unmake our eyes and see the world anew.

I think what these paintings do is quite relevant to the state of things, the world-weary state. My experience of the institution, the theories, the course, has been, suffice to say, instructive- what I have observed is a naivete, a peculiar one. This never-ending drive to develop, to be better, has bred intellectual inbreeding. There is such a hesitancy to respecting and truly understanding Otherness, the diversity tag merely political correctness. Yes I am not from here, but I am here, I get how it works.

Power structures are not only made of cables and steel.

The postmodern malaise is equally instructive; yes the Author had to die so that we know who he is. My claim here is about Art, about making it, and undoing this trap that was bred in a panoptical state. When you recognize freedom it is not an act of intellectual fiction; it is an act of seeing.

Can’t you see that Art is not merely a mind-fuck?

Can’t you see that artists dealt with both the profound and the mundane?

Can’t you see that Art is not Concept? (lest we become Saatchi&Saatchi interns)

It is at these interstices that I often find myself questioning everything. What do I want to say? What will I choose to confront?


Written by mosheladanga

January 15, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: