Last week, while hanging around Maastricht, I ran into several contemporary art events and expositions. I stopped at some of them, just the time for a quick peek. As usual when it comes to contemporary art, I felt first amused, then confused, and finally irritated by my inability to understand it. As maybe many other people, I have always struggled to perceive the beauty behind a piece of contemporary art, to find it interesting at times, to see it as “art”.
I always happen to use as a measure of comparison the great classics, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raffaello, and Donatello (not to be confounded with the ninja turtles here). Artists who showed through their jobs the greatness of their skills. People so talented to make a piece of stone looking as real as skin, or as light as fabric, and paintings and frescoes so beautiful to bewitch the human soul. And when looking at contemporary art, the obvious question comes up: “Where is the skill?”, and sometimes the unavoidable consideration: “I could have done it myself.”
But then, with a little bit of thinking, and some help from Francesco Bonami, it’s not too difficult to realize that contemporary art is no more a question of skills, but of concepts. Art nowadays has become more and more a means to transmit ideas and emotions, and the good artist is the one who makes this transmission intriguing, and as natural as possible, and the one who makes it first. It’s more about creativity, and no more ability, no more about replicating the world, but give life to something really new. The question then translates to: “What is the artist communicating to me?”, and as a by-product the viewer becomes integral part of the artistic process.
I found myself to like this new way of meaning and interpreting art. It seems to me that everybody nowadays could potentially become an artist. It sounds like a more socialistic way of accomplishing art.
Pietro Bonizzi, Assistant Professor at Knowledge Engineering