Sunday, 6 March 2016

What Is Art?

I’m still living in a monochrome world: Chilly and grey, and snow on and off – and on again… Today it’s “on again”. Yesterday it was temporarily “off” though (streets more or less bare even if still snow on the lawns etc); and as I was tired of staying in, I decided to go into town and visit a couple of art exhibitions.

One was a temporary exhibition at a small art gallery; the artist, previously unknown to me, Therese Szatek. Click on the link to see some of her works. Some of these were also included in the exhibition I saw. I was impressed with some of the big water colours and graphite drawings, which were very detailed and must have required a lot of time and patience.

I also went to see the current multiple exhibitions at the town’s art museum. It was primarily one of these that I wanted to see. The Swedish sculptor Olle Brandqvist is known for his sculptures in stone and tin. Back in 2010, I watched him at work on a giant stone head on several occasions during our street sculpture festival that summer:


In the current exhibition, there was also a collection of smaller stone heads; but what I liked best was these tin sculptures:



Each of these was around 50-70 cm high, perhaps. They were set on pillars which let you study the details at eye level.

As the for the other various art exhibited… Well, as so often when walking around looking at certain kinds of modern art, I ended up asking myself : “What is art?” Sometimes, really, I have to say it strikes me as being more about confidence than talent…


What do you think? Dividing a canvas into two halves and painting one half black, and the other grey, for example. What kind of price tag would you dare put on it? And how famous must you be already, to get an art museum to buy it? (Just asking! There were no price tags, and I have no answers…)


The whole ground floor was taken up by an installation to do with sausages. As I’m trying to forget about it, I won’t go into details…


  1. Loved the tin tree sculptures, the rest of the the stuff does not meet my definition of art. It's not confidence, it's egotism and a whole lot of the emperor's new clothes.

    1. The emperor's new clothes crossed my mind too, Janet! ;)

  2. I have to agree with Janet...the large schlpture of the head, and the tin trees were great...the rest...Ego...yes!

  3. The tin sculptures are intriguing, especially the one with the little person among the trees.
    Like you, I often wonder about modern "art"... How much of it needs talent, and how much of it is clever marketing? Like you, I have no answer.

  4. i really love those tin sculptures, you know I love trees, and these are wonderful. true talent to create them. as for the paintings UCK is my only word and if i wanted ugly things on my wall i can do it myself..

    1. Sandra, I agree. With those sculptures, it is not hard to recognise that it takes talent and skill to create them. Whereas with paintings like the black/grey one... Well. If I did want one, I'd be very reluctant to pay for more than an empty canvas and two tubes of paint...

  5. So funny, I just discovered in my Linkwithin section that I wrote a blogpost with the exact same title question three years ago, in February 2013 - also from a visit to our art museum. I do remember the downstairs exhibition from back then (I was actually thinking of it when I was there now - the one in 2013 was a lot better than the present one) ... but I had completely forgotten about the upstairs part from back then...

  6. The tin sculptures are exquisite. I've given up trying to decide what is or is not art. If someone wants to call something art then let them. If it doesn't have any effect on my emotions or visual enjoyment (or repulsion even) then I'm not interested.


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