Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mending the Broken Bond

My wife has added yet another book on human psychology to our already flooding library. And this obedient husband forms a willing audience to her treasure-worth of knowledge - every time. Left to myself, I'm ever less likely to scan through 500-odd pages of fine print... so it is preferable any day to gulp a ready dose of summarized information. Who doesn't have fast food these days?

I appreciate a profound point made by the author, Dr.Frank Lawlis in this book - Mending the Broken Bond. He urges us to LISTEN..... "Listen to Understand", he says, don't listen to respond. How true! How often do we find ourselves preparing mental notes on our response.. much before the talker has even finished his second sentence! This habit is particularly dominant in Art... where an artist doesn't listen enough to his world around.... where he doesn't listen enough to his voice within... because he is in a hurry to create, to RESPOND. And so also he finds a befitting species of modern "Art lovers" that aren't willing to hold patience to listen to an artwork before commenting on the guest book.

In the past, I was tempted to place written artist statements next to my sculptures to hold the interest of such an impatient audience. Very often, visitors to an Art Gallery literally jog through its periphery, speeding the most as they near the artist's table. At my Teen Peher exhibit however, my Studio Team discovered a novel way to solve this issue without offending our own curatorial sensibilities. We placed poetry in place of explanations next to the sculptures.... and the confluence worked like magic. With due respect to the lyrical verses, the sculptures were as capable of singing their own beautiful song ...only if one cared enough to stop jogging and listen to them. Although I have been lucky I must say, to have had at least 20 observers come up at my debut exhibition with deeper interpretations of the displayed artworks than I must have known while creating them.

And this is finally what every artist yearns for - that his work should talk... well enough for somebody to Listen. Artists are glad to let others engage and converse with their works... as people who choose to converse with the artist instead, are most often there not to discuss the making of the piece but to brag about their own knowledge of Art.

What we observe at first sight is the initial impact, the attractiveness of an artwork.... but it takes much more than a few glances to interact with it, to understand and to fall in love with the poetry that has gone into making it. 

Flirting doesn't yield Love. Just like in our relationships in life.


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