Thursday, December 06, 2007

Art and the ravages of time...

"Send me a postcard
drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely wasting away
Give me an answer,
fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty four"

So sang Beatles in their reflections on getting older. Among other things, getting older is something that none of us really relish – let alone getting to 64. Oftentimes, I wonder if I would still be doing art then, but then what else might be there to pleasure one's soul other than art, the love of my life and grandchildren. Talking about art, I also think about how one would look and perceive art as old age sets in. You might have a more refined, minimalist outlook or you might have a garish, overbearing persona on canvas – not too sure what might happen – sometimes no outlook at all – your senses dulled by a feeling of satiety after inhaling a life well lived…

Sometimes artistic outlooks/outputs (on canvas or otherwise) may be forced to proceed in a particular direction dictated by onset of illnesses or certain other maladies than as a conscious self-provoked decision to explore and nurture newer avenues. Whatever the case, the infirmities that befall one that consist of a kind that cannot be reined in and controlled tends to produce art that is often varied, richer (sometimes) or more diffuse - depending upon how you look at it. The case of de Kooning (depression), Monet (cataract) and others come to mind here. In this article on Art and Perception (provoked by reading a report on this individual's research reported in the Science Times), I write about how one might ascribe greatness to art based on past glories attained by the artist rather than appreciate art for what it is – in some cases a gooey mass of ill mixed colors or in other cases sheer resplendence – in both cases the result being a function of the infirmity that befell the artist.


Tree said...

Nice post, Sunil. I hope wherever you are at 64, you are still creating art!
I'm not a huge fan of de Kooning's late works but despite his serious problems, he still created a beautiful line. Amazing to think that even dementia and alcoholism couldn't take that away.

Sunil said...

Thank you, Kimberley.