BBC'S Guide To Understanding Art Like a Pro

lunes, 10 de abril de 2017 11:53

|Rodrigo Ayala

Sparing some time to contemplate our inner and outer world is not a common occurrence nowadays. It is, in fact, a true luxury. We've all heard many of our friends –or even ourselves– saying: "I wish I had more time to dedicate for myself," "I'd love to read a book or watch movies, but my job makes it impossible," or "It would be really cool to visit a museum this weekend and get to know the most important works of art, but when?"

Insufficient time, along with the strong need to rest our minds and bodies, constitutes one of the worst conditions that afflict us nowadays. We are constantly hurrying to make it on time to work or a date. We wrestle with the deadlines of payments and projects that cannot be delayed. Stress has come as a result of our current lifestyle and its increasing demands, which make us want to bite more than we can chew in a few minutes. Thus, people have forgotten how pleasing it is to admire an object without rushing.

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We can see this on how people behave in museums nowadays. Most of them are more concerned with taking photographs of the objects exhibited, falsely believing that this way they're not "missing" nothing of that experience. But are they really appreciating what is before their eyes? What would happen if they stood gazing a few more minutes and let themselves drift into forms and colors, disregarding that need to see and photograph everything?

In the face of this phenomenon, many people involved in the art world have begun to encourage a practice called Slow Art, which consist in appreciating art by standing still in order to contemplate the artwork and find delight in each of its details. As a person gazes at every part of the work, questions arise in their head: How did this artist manage to come up with this mixture of colors? Why didn't they decide to do otherwise? What did they mean by using this figure or symbol?

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The founder of this philosophy and supporter of this devotion of art is artist Tim Slowinski. He noted in the wall of his studio the following words which comprise the foundation of Slow Art: "Art is a way of life, a method of being, a way of perceiving the world."

Performance artist Enoch Cheng believes this practice provides that much needed space we seek: "[Slow Art] gives us the space to look again, to even do nothing —that is a very precious space, it’s almost like a luxury now.”
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Slow Art tries to make spectators understand the importance of "living" the arts, instead of encasing them in digital photographs. It's all about sitting down to properly appreciate even the most hidden detail of a painting or sculpture, and then making the effort of analyzing it through different perspectives. Slow Art endorses these activities with the aim of helping the spectator establish a closer and more effective relationship with an artwork. It doesn't matter if it is simple, complex, or even incomprehensible for the spectator; to stand still for a long time will give us the opportunity to relish in its existence.

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On April 7 of each year, Slow Art's day is celebrated almost everywhere in the world. Museums and galleries organize group activities in which the participants observe carefully five different artworks during 10 minutes. Afterwards they make a gathering so everyone can discuss their experience. The main objective behind this is to make people fall in love with arts again and make them realize that an artwork can hold multiple universes. Sharing these experiences with other people also gives them an opportunity to enrich their vision, as they realize that perspectives can and must vary.

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Slow Art will freeze time while you ponder deeply over the possible meanings of an artwork. Those minutes are worth it, because they can lead you to a discovery that can change the way you see life. A museum is not the only place where you can put this technique to appreciate life into practice: your home, a park, the streets, or the body of your significant other are the perfect sceneries to let your eyes marvel at the sight before them. You just need a few extra minutes to start discovering a universe that has been in front of you all along.

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Perceptions of art are never absolute. In the end, the knowledge of technique and theory are not what really matters. You just need to get rid of consciousness and let your curiosity, imagination, and emotions emerge so you can appreciate any artwork.



Slow Art

Slow Art Day


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Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia


Rodrigo Ayala

Rodrigo Ayala