Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Meaning of Life - Paint It Black


In 2013, I watched a funny programme starring Karl Pilkington called The Moaning of Life, where he travelled the world seeking inspiration for the meaning of life in key areas, such as happiness, kids and death.

Karl Pilkington is a straight talking funny man whose perception of life in general is rather weird, so weird in fact that he is genuinely funny. The show inspired me to write about the meaning of life from my own perspective mirroring the subjects tackled by Karl.

This is the man at is weirdest best - simply trying to promote the book accompanying the first series:



See what I mean? He can't even talk about his book without flying off at weird tangents.

Anyway, now he’s back with a second series where he continues to give us his view of life with new subjects. Again I have decided to join in and offer my views on the same subject.

The first post discusses something that I have mentioned before (and ranted about):

Art

Regular readers may consider me to be an unsophisticated barbarian when it comes to the arts, mainly because I have written a few posts about my views on contemporary art, the people who produce this art and the people who claim to understand and appreciate it.

These people are wrong.

It’s true that I am a stubborn old git but my opinions on art are just my own. While I may mock the pieces of crap that hang on the walls of museums of contemporary art, I genuinely have praise for paintings and sculptures that, in my opinion, say something to the world.

For example, I love paintings of real things,, such as landscapes, oceans, storms and sunsets, particularly if these images have been captured in the past. I find that they give me an insight into life back then and I can imagine the painter sitting in the English countryside, using his skill to capture a specific moment in time for future generations to enjoy.

Here’s an example or two by J.M.W.Turner:

Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Crossing the Brook’, exhibited 1815



These are fantastic paintings.
I feel rather sorry for J.M.W. Turner to be honest because, sadly, his name has been used (or should I say abused) in modern times. His name has been given to an annual contemporary art competition that genuinely makes me wonder about the sanity and intelligence of certain elements of my nation. 
The Turner Prize is awarded to a so-called visionary young artist (under the age of 50 – so its ageist as well) for their new works of art.
However, the art is utter nonsense. In fact, it’s worse than that – it’s absolutely shit!
The Turner Prize shows everything that is wrong with art. These days, it has been captured and held captive by the pseudo-intellectual brigade, who refuse to accept genuine art because, in their words:

“It’s been done before!”

I could vomit in a bucket, throw the contents onto a canvas, empty the contents of a filthy cat litter tray on top of that, spread it around with a garden rake, throw in a few packets of cat food for good measure, leave it to dry and then hang it up on a wall with the title “Cat Chores Gone Wrong” and I am sure that some pillock out there in the world of contemporary art would start gushing over it, claiming it to be:

“The most exciting cosmic, trans-species interactive amalgamation in the myriad multiverses”.

I might just do that, actually!
But of course, art is really any form and while I may mock a pseudo-intellectual, I am certain that he has his reasons for spouting pseudo-philosophical crap about a vomit stain hanging on a wall.
I find beauty in many other art forms, such as music, video and the wonders of Mother Nature. To be perfectly honest, I prefer photography to painting, simply because when a camera captures an image, it is real. In the minute moment that a camera clicks, a picture of a moment is preserved, whether it is a moment of beauty or tragedy. 
For me, like a Turner landscape, we have captured a moment in time that can be preserved for our future generations to enjoy, contemplate or simply fantasize about. 
I would love a person from two hundred years in the future to see a photograph that I had taken and just spend a few moments trying to imagine what was going on at the time. 
Another art form that is close to my heart is music. Music is personal and, like a photograph, can have a special meaning for a person. I still maintain that a catalogue of personal music can act as a unique time machine for a person. Whenever I hear certain songs, my mind searches my memory banks for a specific moment, selects it and brings into my thoughts so that I can relive what is probably a cherished memory, either of a specific instance or a special month or year.
In that respect, music gives meaning to life and the good thing about music is that, like a fantastic statue, a beautiful photograph or an oil painting of an ancient landscape, we can think about our lives, past lives, history and the future all at the same time.
I’m not sure that a vomit stain hanging in the Tate Gallery would have such a profound effect.
I’ll leave you with two songs from my vast collection that are very special to me for reasons that I may elaborate on in future posts:





How about you, dear reader. 

Are you a fan of art?

What art do you enjoy?

Do you think that a lot of contemporary art is rubbish?

What does "art" mean to you?




9 comments:

joeh said...

I think I am on the same page as you on art. You either like it or you don't, and yes there are a number of people who need to be told what they like. Some contemporary stuff I just like, whether for the colors or shapes or whatever, but much is as you say, vomit on a canvas.

Howard Stern, an irreverent DJ in the states once claimed anyone could duplicate a Jackson Pollard painting. He did his own concoction of splatters and streaks and challenged his staff to pick the Pollard. His painting was chosen by 50% of the guessers.

Music is different I don't think you can tell people what they should like (maybe some pretentious operas or Broadway musicals) you feel good music in a different way then you feel art. Personally I have no talent in either of those arts, and I am very jealous of those that do have talent.

I do disagree with you about photography. I understand it is also a real talent, but I could accidentally take a great picture, I could never paint a great landscape.

To me, photography is to visual arts as drummers are to music. (Don't tell anyone, I have a few friends who are good photographers and excellent drummers.)

joeh said...

And Karl P. is very funny, I listened to almost all of his rant, but my attention span is as he points out way too short.

Big D said...

I think I belong to the "I know what I like" school of art appreciation. I don't like art that goes out of the way to "challenge" me - or just get up my nose. maybe that's why I'd rather look at an exhibition of Pink Floyd album covers than most of the self-indulgent shite that passes for art these days.

I think I like art where the creator set out to make something wonderful.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

I think an exhibition of Pink Floyd covers would be great - particularly for those who haven't seen them.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Joeh,

I've heard of Howard Stern and that's a good demonstration of how people view contemporary art.

Fair point about photography - but to be honest, I quite like drummers.

;o)

Cheers

PM

River said...

Well now I have to google Pink Floyd album covers...
I like art that looks like something, landscapes, seascapes. street views etc.Not keen on portraits though. Most modern art is something I walk past quickly, but there are some pieces that make me think, oh, that would look nice in my living room.(which is currently filled with old photos of kids and grandkids, because I don't own any art and there isn't anywhere else I can store these old photos.)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

There are one or two Pink Floyd album covers that I'm sure you will recognise.

Portraits are okay apart from the fact that they show an idealised depiction of the person concerned rather a full warts'n'all real picture. Mind you, with all the airbrushing that goes on with photos these days, it's difficult to find out what a person really looks like.

:o)

Cheers

PM

River said...

I only recognised one pink Floyd cover :(

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I'll wager that's "Dark Side of the Moon".

Or perhaps "Animals"?

:o)

Cheers

PM