tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
A while ago [personal profile] whatistigerbalm wrote an interesting post asking why many of us shy away from discussing art, even as we confidently hold forth for thousands of words on literature and film and theatre. I particularly liked this observation:
What takes away the vocabulary you use when you talk about literature or society? Art is not separate from these things. Art is not special and it is not sacred; it's just there, it's what people do. It doesn't exist without us.
It seems obvious, but I think we -- I -- forget it too often. I'm not musical or talented at dancing or drawing or painting, or have any technical knowledge about any of these things, but I do like examples of these things occasionally, and I have opinions on them. Often my opinions aren't more than a nonverbal sense of 'like' or 'dislike' or 'wow' or 'general sense of awe' (or, in the case of music, 'like, and will listen to on repeat for 200 times or until the visceral thrill wears off, whichever comes first'), but-- that doesn't make them any less valid as reactions, I think.

So, in that vein, here is a piece of art that I feel a connection with, and means something to me:

bride falling through the sky over the Blue Mountains
Rosemary Laing
bulletproofglass #2, 2001

I owned a poster of this photograph for a number of years, and faithfully blu-tacked it to the wall of all my rented accommodations, but it finally died during our last move. After a while I realised that I was quite sad without it, and resolved to find another. I eventually hunted down a replacement from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, where I'd originally seen Rosemary Laing's exhibition, and now the replacement's away getting framed. Because, the thing is. I don't even care if it's an objectively good photograph or piece of art. I don't care that I'm just framing a poster to put on my wall, not the original $12,000 print. I don't care that the reasons I like it may have nothing to do with the artist's intent, or the symbolic language of art, or whatever.

I care that I bought that poster during a fairly horrible period of my life in 2005, and that I used to look up at it above my desk and feel paradoxically reassured by its ambiguity: a woman in a liminal space, falling (flying), living (dying-- in the rest of the sequence we see that the front of her dress is splattered with blood), defined by her bridal gown but defining herself as more than a bride by being out of place, in a uniquely Australian landscape that's achingly familiar (simultaneously uneasy) at dawn (or dusk).

The thing I like about that photo is that it's an instant. In that instant, we don't know how it's going to turn out-- whether she's going to fall, or die, or the sky is going to darken instead of lighten, or if she'll fall alone. In that moment, she just is--

So what pieces of art do you like?


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