There is that long-drawn debate on “What is Art?” that has left many bewildered. It is easy to point out that a water colour painting of Singapore’s river scene – soothing hues of blue painted placidly over canvas and realistic portrayals of bumboats and people that reflect the buzzing river life – as a great piece of art.
But is it?
Should art exist only to be aesthetically pleasing?
A recent trip to 8Qsam (Singapore Art Museum’s contemporary art wing) with my mother further dawned upon me how misguided we are when it comes to art.
Art should, in my opinion, provoke. It should effectively leave you questioning – vitalized by the stream of ideas you take home with you. Whatever medium the artist chose to convey his/her message, looking at art is an experience that only you can solely keep.
I once read “Whatever You Think, Think Opposite” by Paul Arden. In the book, Arden recounts how a man travelled to an art exhibition and ended up hating every single moment of it.He lamented how terrible the art was and the exhibition wasted his time.
However, one could put it across that because the art affected him so greatly, it was proof that the work was powerful enough to leave such a lasting impression on him.