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January 24, 2020 / Congau

The Rules of Art

Art is the breaking of rules, but it’s also submission to rules; there can’t be the one without the other. If there were no rules, there would be no rules to break and the product would be irrelevant.

Art is saying something in a different way than has been said before, but the words spoken, the colors displayed or the forms expressed must be recognizable. It’s no use to utter the most profound sentences if it’s done in a language no one understands.

Much of modern art makes that mistake. How are we supposed to understand something if we have never seen anything remotely like it before? But the audience of today are easily fooled; they confuse understanding with acceptance and they are oh so tolerant, which means they think they understand everything.

Art is feeling, people say, and of course, every time we see something strange that we have never seen before, we will feel something – strangeness at least – and the purpose of art seems to have been fulfilled. But what we feel depends on what we understand and if we are unfamiliar with the means of expression, our feeling and understanding will be limited.

They often don’t give us the time to learn the language of new forms of art; we don’t get the chance to grasp the new rules before they are broken, and we are left clueless.

Great art breaks the rules in a most subtle way. There’s no need for dramatic shattering of glasses and violent attention grabbing, but sensing the small and important nuances require practice and that we are hardly granted in the ever-changing scene of contemporary art.

Classical art is not necessarily more art than what is produced in the modern anarchy, but it follows a recognizable standard, and the returning question “Is this art?” can’t be answer until we have a certain standard.

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