Art is something difficult to define. When I think of the word ‘art’, a thousand different thoughts invade my mind. To me art is composing music, telling a story, having a perfect walk by the seaside could be a form of art too. Or catching a perfect wave while surfing. The way water moves slowly in a pond. So many things have an artistic side.
For others, art may just be the flawlessly shaped works of art by Michelangelo and Donatello. These artists, who if present here today, might have a challenging relationship with museums of modern art.
I used to be with this latter group.
I used to think that to define something "artistic", it took a lot. It would have to be a perfectly shaped statue carved from a single slab of marble, or a world renown painting that looks just like a photograph.
Then I started understanding that shrinking art to what is just in the books and to what is “old enough” is silly. Such simply downgrades too many things with great potential that actually resonate art from every pore to nothing.
So I started being more open. I used the word ‘art’ more often. This got me going into more museums, especially modern art museums; and being less skeptical and less cynical.
My relationship with art has always been very complicated. Some won’t even get what I’m talking about. As a person with a high sensitivity, I absorb a lot from the world. And absorbing this much means that at a certain point you need to give it out. But the thing is that I don’t know how. I don’t know in which shape or form I should put out everything I have inside.
One of the arts that makes me feel most is music. When I hear certain songs, certain chords and notes, my whole body feels. I am so glad music exists because nothing has a hold on me as much as a good track.
When I was recently in Los Angeles, I decided to once again challenge my skepticism towards modern art, and hit The Broad, a museum of modern art.
I started walking towards the alleys and the galleries. There were photos and statues. It all looked very interesting, but those still felt too staged for me to actually feel it.
Then, I heard a melody from a room. I was drawn towards it. The room was dark. There were screens all over the place. On each screen was a person playing an instrument. Each person was in a different room, of what seemed to be the same house. They were all playing the same song, at the same time but in different places and with different instruments.
I walked closer to each screen. The closer I got, the better I could listen in to the person on that screen. I could tell that each artist was playing and feeling the song in a different way, giving it a different meaning. Moving around the room, I could feel the whole song as if I was inside of it!
On one screen was a guitarist on his bed. He had a sad and vulnerable face playing his chords. On another screen, was a girl playing the violin. Her face was relaxed and relieved.
This work of art was produced in a single take. It is called The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson.
In it, everyone was playing the same song, but each person lived that experience differently. That was so powerful to me. I could feel each one of them individually. Yet, I could feel the melody as a whole. The combined sound of each musician was there. As I kept walking around the room I actually teared up.
This performance was so pervasive. It was pure art.