We wanted to share with you all this guest article written by one of our customers about her recent foray into the world of art. We love her interpretation of the perceived ‘shoulds and should nots’ of the art world – it’s interesting because we feel that a lot of people experience a similar level of intimidation around what is art and what isn’t; what we should like and what we shouldn’t; why we are expected to appreciate something or not. There appears to be expected of us an undefined ‘need’ to be able to firstly, identify what it is that appeals to us about a certain picture, print or photo, and then to be able to explain why we like it!
We found this article to be so relevant to what we try to offer here at Gallery Wallrus - we don’t even attempt to try and decipher what’s trending, what’s technically brilliant, what’s passé or what’s even passable! – we just create and curate prints that we find provocative, interesting, or appealing and put them into collections that you can take right off the peg and put into your home knowing that you’ve got a gallery wall that’s unique, striking and chic.
Klimt Exhibition Vienna – the trials and tribulations of trying to appreciate art.
I’ve always had a strange relationship with art… basically, I don’t know it very well, and it certainly has never heard of me. I find the whole thing very intimidating in that I feel like one can get it so, so wrong without even trying. And once you’ve shown yourself to be the ignoramus everyone always suspected you were, there’s no going back. It’s a scenario I find rather reminiscent of my years at high school when it came to the boys I shared a classroom and playground with.
So in this scenario, given my feelings over the matter, I handled it in exactly the same way as I handled boys at school. I pretended that not only did the world of art not exist, but even if I was aware of it, I didn’t want anything to do with it anyway. Clever, right? Not really. However, I now find myself with one distinct advantage over my 13 year old self: 25 years of life experience and a much, much smaller ego. Also, I am now aware of the fact that art can’t laugh at me, call me a loser and tell all its mates that I smell of egg sandwiches.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, I find myself in Vienna for a work thing and I have the weekend free. My new boss asks me what I like to do on city breaks and frankly I’m totally flummoxed. I’ve never had one. But, the 13 year old in me (yeah she’s still around) doesn’t want to sound like a hick so I tell her that I might go to a gallery. Now then, doesn’t that land me in a whole world of pain? I had actually planned to spend the weekend lying in the huge bed in the posh hotel room they have provided for, me watching Netflix and consuming the entire contents of the minibar. But I’ve said it now, and I know I will be quizzed about it on Monday morning, so in order to ‘not make a liar of myself’ as it were, I now need to go to a gallery. I’ve never been to one before and honestly am firstly, unenthusiastic to say the least, and secondly, more than a little intimidated. As luck would have it, on the way home that evening I see a poster for a Gustav Klimt exhibition that is currently happening at a gallery in Vienna. Fait accompli or what?
Klimt is one of the few artists I’ve one, heard of, and two can honestly say that I ‘like’. I use that term loosely because I am still not entirely sure what ‘liking’ a piece of art, or the works of an artist, involves. If we were discussing ice-cream, for example, it’s easy to know what you like – it’s the ones that make you happy and warm on the inside. (I mean that metaphorically obviously. If a kind of ice-cream made you literally warm on the inside then there’s something wrong with it). So, yes, ice-cream, breeds of dog, shoes, the weather – all these things are easy to like or dislike. But art? Fuck, you’re so not allowed to just ‘like’ it – you can’t just say ‘it’s nice’ or ‘very pleasant’ like you would ice-cream or wine – you actually have to have a formed, expressible opinion on it. An opinion that explains, with clarity, all the reasons that it’s good, or inspiring, or provocative, or ‘not your cup of tea’. A veritable minefield I tell you!
And that, therein lies the reasons I’ve avoided the world of art like the plague – lest my own feeble summarisations be held to the light and found desperately wanting.
But fuck it, you know what I found today? That some of those pictures I saw, I really, really liked. And I am 100% unapologetic about using that terminology; about not having the first idea of how to explain what I liked about them; why it was that I liked them or what ‘feelings’ they provoked in me.
The simple fact of the matter is, I would hang them on my wall, in my home and I would look at them every day and they would make me feel happy. Does there need to be more?