“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”- Stella Adler
There’s intrinsic value to every form of art. From Picasso’s cutting-edge constructed sculptures to mural paintings of Aztec clans, every stroke, every lining, and every contour leads to a final masterpiece that tells a story of the creator and the created. In essence an artwork encourages, motivates, inspires, and stimulates creativity in the beholder. It creates the dichotomy between vision and imagination while making you question is it what I see, or is it what I perceive?
Though realistic in concrete form but abstract in meaning, art elevates us to new heights as we expand the horizon of our thought and perception, whimsically enabling us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. I believe a good artwork elicits thoughts and conveys emotions. A GREAT artwork, nonetheless, speaks to the passer-by and draws on his creative senses, spreading its roots into the very depths of his heart, changing him.
And a great piece of artwork was what I encountered this weekend at Grant Park, where I found myself in the midst of 106 nine-foot tall headless torsos made of cast irons. The rusted towering figures were grandeur and statuesque, yet while poised in their walking position, they had no heads nor arms. Agora is the name of the sculptural composition which refers to the meeting grounds of ancient Greek city-states. The figures are the acclaimed masterpiece of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, whose creative sense was molded by WWII and the 45 years of Soviet domination that ensued. Her art draws on her fear of crowds, which she described as “brainless organisms acting on command, worshiping on command and hating on command”. It is in this communal act that Abakanowicz believes the human skull, instincts and emotions overpower the intellect without being aware of it.
In essence the human body is the best work of art, and Abakanowicz’s use of bronze figures to convey a snippet of history and cultural affairs is an artist’s masterpiece at its best. It tapped into my creative senses, spread its roots into the inner crevice of my heart, and changed my perception of collective gatherings and the clash between instinct versus intellect. Given the truest form of art spurs “colorful” perceptions of reality or imagination, I wanted my outfit to exemplify the difference between “what one sees” versus “what one perceives”. Here the bronze sculptures are monotonous in color (as what one sees), but the rich history behind the installation is vibrant and colorful (as what one perceives), much like colorful ensemble I have on with the woven teal skirt and the pink slip with spaghetti straps. To keep the color-blocking style in tact, I chose a necklace that embodies the blue/pink nodes of my outfit and a pair of nude heels to finish the look.
As Leonardo da Vinci once said “one can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself”, we can only hope that the intrinsic worth an artwork brings to the audience is the generic value it brought to the creator – the aim to represent not the external appearance of matters, but their internal worth and significance. And what’s my final takeaway from this outing? The appreciation of the story and background behind the artist, the inherent worth and value of the artwork, and the truest meaning behind its existence 🙂
Credits: Jason J Photography http://jasonjphotography.zenfolio.com