Cave men made art, neolithic-man made art, modern-man made art. The question is, are we -modern man- making art?
Firstly what is art, its definition, its purpose. All the answers to the questions you and I ask are questions we all seek answers to. But we should be aware that opinions differ with regards to everything in the world so we cannot be to sure what the answer is. That however does not hinder us from seeking the ever illusive spirit of art.
Art in a nutshell is expression, expression of form, colour, light, sound, movement and the list goes on. But what separates art from craft or just enjoyment of expression? the answer to that is of course not the easiest of answers. But I will attempt to give my viewpoint on this matter.
Art is expression, that we have established. What separates it from craft and “doodling” is most likely intent. What is it intended for; is it intended to be just a rendering of an image or idea, intended to shock the public or lull them to sleep, to inform, to criticize or even amuse. These are just questions that spring at the top of my mind, not that they are of the out-most importance, but I do not, also, write them off as unimportant. Art has many faces, and some of these faces do not look pretty. Artist like Jeff Koones, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst are thought to be artists of a raging capitalist system. Their art in honest fact does nothing to uplift people, none the less it is considered art -modern art- if not anything else. What I am trying to say is that their mundus operandi or intent, is of worldly status. When we now contrast Art of the “primitive” man we see a different art. Cave drawings found in the Lascaux caves or the African rock art by the bushmen, there we see art, with a different intent. The art of that time played a much bigger role in terms of its message its intent. It wasn’t for the individual or the up-liftment of the individual, but for the collective, for the benefit of the tribe or village.
Contrasting these two art-forms is almost unfair to both the people who made them because the context is different. Humans have evolved and so have their ideas. But art records that, art records what the people of that time value, their ideas. It records what they do for a living, what they eat, how they behave and so forth. So we go back to the question, what is the relevance of art?
The relevance of art in our day and age is that it is our own personal history recorder. The amazing thing about art is that it does not subjectify, it is a collective source of information historical information recorded by people -artist most of the time- who show exactly what is happening and not saying things just to fill the pages of history.
I will end here, for life is a daily journal and ideas change daily.signed Koketso Letlape