Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poetry and the Unprofessional

A friend of mine, photographer Jaime Permuth, recently attended one of the sessions of FotoFest and relates this story:

Rainer-Maria Rilke
'I heard from a reviewer at FotoFest that there is an artist who answered each of his questions by opening a well-worn copy of Rilke and reciting a line of poetry. When the 20 minutes were almost over, the reviewer asked one final question and the artist handed over the book and said to him: "here, read for yourself."

Jaime shared this story on Facebook and reactions to the post included the suggestion that the artist was being "unprofessional," and a "pompous, pretentious fool."  

In the ordinary course of our lives, we speak and think in prose.  The visual artist does not.  

Words, by their very nature, reduce and limit.   Also, words, despite their apparent objectivity, are subjective.  In that, they are like photographs.

I do not know what other artists are trying to do. But for me, when I create a piece of work that is successful, whether it is a photograph, a painting, or a sculpture, it must have a certain quality about it: it must be referent to something that transcends language.  

This particular photographer decided not to play by the rules.  No doubt that more than a few reviewers were put off by his recitation of poetry.  If so, they missed listening to some beautiful poetry and probably missed looking at some beautiful images.

There are no rules in art.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I enjoyed this story and quite like your blog - thanks!