6 April 2011

A reader commenting on my last blog has raised the question whether there might be a connection between ‘remoteness’ and originality.  That’s an interesting one.  Thinking back through art history, it could be said that everytime there has been a new movement, the originality of it has sparked off ridicule and opposition, largely because that new style has been perceived as remote from what art is ‘supposed’ to be.  Take Matisse and Fauvism, with reference to the painting having been done by wild animals, for example.  Or Cubism, an ism coined originally as an insult for the same reason.  I suppose we could concede that  Cubism has a  remoteness, as in being to some extent detached from an everyday experience of life.  Yet it’s development by Picasso and Braque has to be seen as not only original, but essential for the development of abstract art in the future, and therefore consistent with concerns that are not remote for the artist.  However, Cubist works are about what the mind knows, not what the emotions feel, and to that extent it might be classed as remote by most viewers.  I personally don’t experience it as remote, but maybe Picasso’s cubism appeals to me because I value intellect as well as emotion.  Perhaps remoteness is to some extent in the eye of the beholder?  Originality, on the other hand, can be warm and approachable, rather than remote, and I’m sure that Picasso’s later work, post cubist, would fit into this category.   Originality tends to arise when that which is known is presented in combinations not seen before.  If that is true, then it is the characteristic ‘warmth’ or ‘coolness’ of the elements combined that would determine whether the combination as a whole was remote or otherwise.  But perhaps you, the reader, have other ideas or suggestions???

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