Politics, beauty and history in art
Politics is the practice of influencing people on the civic and individual level. It has existed since the formation of social hierarchy among humans. Artists mostly did not involve themselves with politics directly with politics but they expressed their views through their art work for example Pablo Piccaso and Thomas Hirschhorn while other were directly involved in politics and also had artistic presentation of the politics for example Jacques Louis David. Beauty is the characteristic of an object or an idea that gives people a feeling of pleasure and is admired. Most artists work is described as a thing of beauty for example Daniel Barrow and Ed Pien. History is referred to as the study of the past and many artists such as Ed Pien have art works that have been inspired by the history of a place.
The art work of the above mentioned artists give a perfect example of the theme for the exhibition. Their art works have even changed the definition of beauty especially Pien’s technique of drawing. The exhibition is to be done in a gallery that has a lot of lighting so as to be able to luminate the drawings of Pien since they contain two layers that are drawn with different colours. The gallery has to be well spaced so allow enough space for people to walk around and explore the art works. Each art work should contain a short description so as to give people an idea of what they entail this is to allow better understanding. The art works that portray the theme of beauty should be place in the middle of the gallery while the political and historical art works should be arranged according to the time in which they were created. The colours in the gallery should be able to help bring out the mood of peace, sadness and appreciation of beauty and history. The gallery should also have security personnel and security equipment such as CCTV cameras since the art works in the gallery are one of a kind and are of great value.
The Charnel, The Dream and Lie of Franco and Guernica are Pablo Picasso’s artworks that integrate war, politics and history. The main motivation for Picasso’s creations is to make political art. Picasso was a Spanish who was staying in France. During the Spanish Civil War, World War I and World War II, Picasso did not join any armed forces for any country of side. When the Spanish Civil War started in 1937, Picasso had an option of going back to Spain and joining either of the side but he did not since he was in his late fifties. Picasso was angered and condemned fascists and Francisco Franco but instead fighting with the Spanish, he expressed his emotions through art.
The Dream and Lie of Franco was the first political work created by Picasso and it was motivated by the Spanish Civil War and it was mainly done for raising funds for the Spanish government. In the painting, Picasso was criticizing how the Spanish cultural diversity was being suppressed by Franco. Through art, Picasso was opposing Franco’s political point of view and he was thus considered as an activist since he was bringing change through images. The paintings of Guernica and The Charnel are used to create a feeling of gloom, chaos, sadness and destruction that are brought about by war. These paintings are, therefore, used as evidence of historical events of the war and help the people to judge the past events and avoid a repetition. Concisely, the paintings are used as anti-war symbols, and they, therefore, promote culture.
Jacques Louis David was a French painter from the early nineteenth century who had the strongest influence on French art. Unlike Picasso who did not involve himself with politics directly but expressed his views through art, Jacques was involved in political regimes and was also an active supporter of the French Revolution. His artwork was inspired by the political ruling of various leaders such as Napoleon I. Jacques helped his friend, Robespierre, to over-throw and destroy the old order. Jacques painted The Oath of The Tennis Court, which was used to showing the historical beginnings of the French Revolution. The painting was done because Jacques was commissioned to paint it to be a reminder of the oath that was taken on the tennis court by the National Assembly and not because of personal political conviction. However, the painting was not completed. The oath of the tennis court was brought about by the deputies of the Third Estate who changed their name to the National Assembly. This led to the prevention of the meeting they were to hold in the meeting hall. They were locked out of the hall for days and were forced to gather in the indoor tennis courts where they took an oath to stick together until they achieved their goal.
The oath they took and the ability to stick together was seen as a symbol of national unity and this lead to the formation of Jacobins. Jacque was later involved in politics since he joined the Jacobins. The painting of the oath of the tennis court was completed later on through the sponsorship of the government. The painting symbolised the beginning of the French revolution and the determination of the National Assembly to reach their goal of making a “constitution of the realm fixed upon solid foundations.”
The Swiss born artist, Thomas Hirscchorn, who lives in Paris, is a graphic artist who is known for his unique artistic nature of using common materials such as plastic wrap, cardboard, duct tape and foil. Thomas started out as a member of an artistic group of graphic designers called Grapus. The group was displaying impromptu images and posters on the street, and they were mostly in the language of advertisement. Thomas work of art is mostly displayed outside the gallery, is a site specific and interactive. The everyday materials he chooses to use in his work, he says is political and that he only uses materials that are inclusive, universal, do not contain any plus-value and economic. Thomas mainly focuses on the “hard core of reality” and he is concerned with culture and politics. Many critics such as Elfriede Jelinek have issues with his work and they even make negative comments, but Thomas takes his work seriously and he is too focused on these creations that he does not pay attention to the critics who do not appreciate his creations.
The art works of Ed Pien such as Night Gathering, Ghosts and Two World Suite combine Pien’s memories, beauty and the Chinese history. Pien immigrated to Canada in 1969 though he was born and grew up in Taiwan, China. As he grew up, he read and learnt a lot about the Chinese mythology, especially the Classic of mountain and sea and this was what inspired most of his works of art. His experience in China inspired the artwork of Night Gathering in which the use of paper cuts is a historical medium that conveys meaning. The black and white colours in the paintings bring contrast and thus make the painting simple and beautiful.
Pien has brought a completely new meaning to the word beauty. He has been able to change the perspective of beauty in art, which has been existing in modernism, and postmodernism and thus giving meaning to beauty through colour and form. An example is his work, Ghost, which uses both green and white lighting to bring the artwork to life. Pien’s work is not very beautiful compared to the work of other artists such as Daniel Barrow, but the meaning behind his work is brave and contains beauty. The work of art of Pien looks like a child’s drawing on the wall, with the characters quite scary and fearful, but they are so attractive since the drawing has two layers that have been done with different colours.
The Winnipeg artist who was also the winner of the 2010 Sobeys Art Award, Daniel Barrow, is an artist whose work is a beauty that is inspired by an individual’s past experiences. For example, the work “the face of everything” is inspired by life experiences of Liberace’s most notorious boyfriend. His artwork is mostly in the form of cartoon and comic stories, and it shows a teenager’s meditation on the relationship between a romantic view of pain, beauty and sadness. Barrow makes his drawings beautiful by using vivid colours that make them lively. People describe Barrow’s work as grotesque because it brings opposing forces together and form his own style such as uniting abjection and pathos, beauty and ugliness. When you look into the meaning of his work, it shows that the artwork is curious and awkward. Most of Barrow’s art works do not have happy conclusion because, in his life experience, a space for pain has to be set aside even though resolution is happening gradually. Despite the fact that the stories in this works of art have sad endings, the effectiveness of his techniques, the high performance skills he uses such as background music and the subject matter come together and a great story that is captivating and impressive.
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