Did any artwork change your life?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by d. light, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Someone reads a book that will change the way he/she has seen the
    Someone plays/conducts a piece of music that will touch the inner
    hearts of the whole audience in a way they will never forget.
    A piece of artwork may never leave your memory, because it revealed a
    priceless experience for you.

    In short: Did any artwork, in the wider sense, change your life and
    to which factor / force do you subscribe the "success" of that
  2. the Eqyptian exhibit in the Louvre....long time ago...
  3. Michelangelo's Pieta - I was 6 years old. It's the only thing I remember from the World's Fair and the memory is extraordinarily vivid and intense - so much so that I just verified it was there with a web search (it has an otherworldly dream-like quality in my memories). My first "art" experience and maybe why I haunt European museums and churches.
  4. Would my first 'earned with a photo' image of Ben Franklin on the $100.00 bill quailfy?
  5. A photograph in National Geographic. I think it was published in 1964 by William Albert Allard.
    It is of children running down a hill toward a Basque village. The Pyrennes mountains at dusk. They had been called to supper by their mother.
    I was moved by the photograph but even more so by thinking how a person could be the one to make the photograph that moved others.
    And to actually be on that mountain.

    I have devoted my life to photography ever since.

    It is what I do...what I am.
  6. I don't think any one piece of art has changed my life. But, paintings by David Park and
    works by ceramicist/sculptor Robert Arneson have definitely changed the way I view the
    world - which has probably influenced how I approach photography.
  7. There was not a single artwork, but the complete work and thinking of four artists: a sculptor, an architect, an orchestra conductor, and a composer. In the same order these are: Constantin Brancusi, Louis I. Kahn, Herbert von Karajan, and Gustav Mahler. These artists have changed in just few seconds the course of my life: both, the human and the professional sides, and two of them even saved it, acting like healing drogues. Here are very few details about these four artists and their work:

    Brancusi said, when quitting Rodin, his master: “Under a big tree (Rodin), only grass can grow up”. He than went in opposition with his master, and starting from what was called at that time “primitive art”, he reached the limits of the simplicity and purity of the forms, while encrypting powerful existential messages.

    Louis I. Kahn said, when teaching: “Silence to Light, Light to Silence. The threshold of their crossing is the Singularity, is Inspiration (Where the desire to express meets the possible), is the Sanctuary of Art, is the Treasury of the Shadows (Material casts shadows, shadows belong to light)”, and also (from memory): “Art doesn’t have to search for beauty. Beauty is just a selection made by people and time”. Luis I. Kahn built his aesthetics on two concepts: the Silence and the Light. He created exceptional structured forms, achieved with brute materials (usually brick and cement with no finish other than their own colors and textures). All these create the unique feeling of walking through perfectly functional “ruins” (out of time buildings).

    Karajan was in music what Louis I. Kahn was in architecture: silence and light, structure and authenticity, out of time feeling.

    Finally, Mahler is the artist who exceeded the human limits: he transcended the highest pain and even the death in some of his works, and all these in a pure humanistic (not religious) way.
  8. When I was a child, the first real photograph (as opposed to family snapshots) I recall, was Dorothea Langes "Migrant Mother" and it had a profound affect on me. I have returned to it over and over and will until I can no longer do so. The expression and tonality are exquisite. Now, I don't remember which came first, but my most loved Aunt had "The Family of Man", given to her by a friend. She gave it to me to look at when I was little and my family visited her. I never wanted to put it down. Many years later, I mentioned to her how I felt about the book (at the time, I had never taken a photograph) and she gave it to me. I now have 3 or 4 copies. I have gotten them as gifts or bought them at used book stores. I have given the book as a gift to those I care for. It's strange to me that I had no interest in photography until about 14 years ago and now that's what I do when I'm not actively working or maintaining my life. But I majored in art for awhile as an undergrad and couldn't accept photography as worthwhile. I only later got into it as a way to document my travels. Then I understood.

    There is also a painter who influenced me. He still does -- De Chirico. I nver fail to find myself inspired by his work.

  9. V.

    Have you seen the documentary, "My Architect"? It's directed by his son who is trying to find out who his father really was. Turns out Kahn had three families. That aside, there are some great scenes in and around his buildings.
  10. No, I didn’t see the documentary “My Architect” made by Kahn’s sun. I heard about, but with Kahn, as with all the artists influencing my life or simply liking their works, I staid with the works and their philosophy only, trying to avoid as much possible any biographical biases. I have to recognize there sometime is one, but never understood it, a gasp between SOME artists’ private lives and the altitude of their works.

    And BTW, I forgot to mention another artist, which is a 5th “landmark” in my life: the film director Andrei Tarkovsky. His “Stalker”, years ago, had a strong impact on me, defining my predilection for the symbolic language in art. For a moment I thought David Lynch went on the same way, but I later discovered that Lynch uses only signs, not symbols. Signs are formal codes, with no propre content, part of a puzzle that owns all the identifiable content (message). While symbols are informal codes, with their own content (message), that might be mount in a composition of higher complexity. Signs are working with the rationality, while symbols are working with the consciousness. In conclusion: I like Lynch, but Tarkovsky is the “landmark” for me.

    PS: None of these artists’ names is used for any of my passwords (Ha, Ha, Ha...)
  11. Discovering Fernando Pessoa's 'The Book of Disquiet' had a profound impact on me, not only how I think about the world and the reality we each make of it but also how I think about photography. It allowed me to open myself up to something more than the mere pictorial, because, after all, there is no mere pictorial.

    It's a shame Pessoa is so obscure outside of his native Portugal. He was truly a genuis, both in his ideas and his writing. I must agree with those who say this book is "one of the defining texts of the modern world." (Nicholas Lizard, The Gaurdian)
  12. Thanks everybody for your open and heartful answers.

    The reason of my question is to find a trace what makes extraordinary art, that energises to change the course of ones life for better. Is it the source of inspiration that connects the onlooker / listener to a realm of consciousness he hasnt experienced before?

    Or is it the audience that is in a deeper inner search for "something"?

    What is required on the side of the audience and on the side of the artist to make art meaningful (read: fruitful)?

    There is always a lot of talk about art, styles, intenions, the historical backgrounds etc.. But to me it seems that timeless art is always ready to spread its healing and divine message spontaneously without the need to explain itself beforehand.

    Taking Michelangelos Pieta of St. Peter as an example, which is also my favourite: First time I saw it I wasnt prepared at all. But it is hard to pass by without getting absorbed from the aura of divinity that this sculpture radiates. Simply from a different world.

    Any takers?
  13. Tim, I was pleasantly surprised to read of another fan of Fernando Pessoa. I was introduced to him by a friend who still gets ecstatic at reading random pages from The Book of Disquiet. Needless to say I have all of his books, and they are a treasure trove of richness. We were discussing minor vices some time ago, and here's what she wrote to me:
    For me, yes, it's coffee and cigarettes. I was reading a poem called The Tobacco Shop by Fernando Pessoa. After a long journey into exploring his own sense of aloneness, of feeling he is the only one having the feelings he's having but realizing there are millions of people having those same feelings, he looks out his (poetic) window at the Tobacco Shop across the road and writes:
    ". . . But a man goes into the tobacco-shop (to buy tobacco?),
    And plausible reality suddenly dawns on me.
    Vigorous, sure of myself, a man again, I half rise to my feet,
    And I shall try to write this poem in which I say the opposite.
    I light a cigarette as I think about writing it,
    And in that cigarette I relish my total release from having to think.
    I follow the smoke as though it were a private tour,
    And enjoy in a suitable and sensitive moment
    My release from any kind of speculation
    As I realize that metaphysics comes of feeling ill."
  14. I don't think it exactly changed my life, but the first artwork that I remember blowing my mind was when, as a 12-year-old who loved horror films, I went to the theater to watch David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly. I don't think that at the moment I fully understood why it impressed me so - maybe I was too young to grasp the movie - but with the years I've come to dissect what makes it such a brilliant film:

    - However cliched it sounds, it works on many levels. What I saw a as a kid was merely an impressive horror movie, but there's the heart-wrenching love story, the fact that Brundle's turning into a horrible fly-thing could be seen as nothing more than a wasting disease that's also affecting the person's mind, and the realistic relationships between the characters.

    - It knows what it wants to be. The Fly didn't ramble, or go for cheap, jump-out-of-your-seat scares. It turned out that what Cronenberg wanted to tell was a love story, with one of the characters being ravaged by disease. Focusing on that made the movie be a superb study of three characters that we get to know: no car chases, no big fights, no going through walls while pursuing the cute girl whose clothes become skimpier and skimpier, no filler.

    - It crossed boundaries between genres, mixing a horror movie with a love story and a character study, creating something that I hadn't seen before and couldn't have expected. So far it is the only horror movie that, while filling me with revulsion at the sight of the monster, a being I wouldn't want to have anywhere near me, also managed to make me feel sorry about the creature - enough that I cried at the devastated beast's last gesture.

    - It was personal. Cronenberg's obsession with the body (and apparently, the body getting out of control and rebelling against the mind trapped inside) infused the film with a strength it wouldn't have had otherwise.

    - It stood on its own merits. I am often unable to enjoy the films by Hayao Miyasaki, because he tends to preach so loudly that his pontificating drowns out the movie. Chricton's novels have become mostly about how dangerous technology is, and it will probably get out of control and kill/drown/eat all of us. The Fly never points the finger at technology, or even at Brundle's own carelessness. You never feel the author tapping you on the shoulder, pointing out the Really Important Stuff that you shouldn't miss.

    Now, if only the guy who keeps posting that photography isn't art read that, I'm sure he'll have a seizure.
  15. Another here: Vasari, Renaissance author, wrote about lives of artists, an interesting and inspiring book. While this is not artwork to look at, vasari was skilled about bringing across his excitement and enjoyment of art, and the personalities that were producing it...recommended reading, I think you can find it in paperback...
  16. <I think you can find it in paperback...>

    You can, john; Penguin Classics publishes it in paperback. Highly recommended.
  17. /www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/features/legendsV2Q2/legendsIndex.shtml">duane michals check him out , didn't changed my life but certainly my view of photography
  18. Here is the link of duane michals where he talks about his photography in a very philosophycal way
  19. Um. Of course. What would our lives be like without art? It's all around us. We'd still be living in caves. Seeing as architecture is art...

    To me this question seems really silly.
  20. Bob Ross: "There are no mistakes, just happy accidents"
  21. Bradley, good answer, quite in relation to your understanding of the question.
  22. Yeah, I'm too dumb to understand this deep question. LOL
  23. Bradley, I didnt say you are too dumb. Again you are not reading properly. If your interpretation is so negative then it is your own problem.

    Of course, all art did change our lives, but certainly not all art did it in the same measure or with the same intensity. If you are not capable of making this difference then really, I am sorry for you.
  24. "Did any artwork change your life?"

    Yeah. My house, my car, my computer, etc.

    If you don't understand my simple point that life as we know it wouldn't exist without art, then I feel sorry for you.

    Your question is more along the lines of, "did Bambi make you cry?" Which seems pretty silly to me.
  25. Bradley,

    Look, there are always ways to misunderstand a question if you really want to. If you would have read only some of the answers on this thread carefully, it would have appeared to you that art can do something extraordinary with us. This has very little to do with the design of you car, watch etc..

    You wrote: "If you don't understand my simple point that life as we know it wouldn't exist without art, then I feel sorry for you."

    Sure I understand this, but it doesnt give you the right to call the question "really silly", as the target of this question was a different one.

    You wrote: "Your question is more along the lines of, "did Bambi make you cry?" Which seems pretty silly to me."

    This is called arrogance. But let me help you a little, even if it doesnt sound cool for you: There is a profound difference between an emotional or sentimental reaction and a deeper inner experience.
  26. I don't think I can answer this question with a single answer but here's top 5 list and why.
    Painting: Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault. Absolutely monumental in size and emotion.
    Photography: Clearing Winter Storm by Ansel Adams. Clearly a masterwork, it takes by breath away everytime I see it. It makes me want to try and attain the same level of thoughtfulness and craftmanship.
    Film: 2001: A Space Oddessy by Stanley Kubrick, of course. The daring leaps of filmmaking and the underlying notion that while we're inherently violent and destructive, there's hope for trancendence in the stars
    Book Fiction: The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. History has more than one side to it, not just that of the victors.
    Book Nonfiction: In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthieson. Profoundly changed my view of the United States government and all that pseudo-history I was force-fed in high school.
    I'd be happy to go into more detail if anyone would like to debate any of this.
  27. Boys- back to your corners. Don't make me call your mothers.

    I may be to young and unversed in the superb pieces of art that exist in this world to fully appreciate and answer your question, yet I will take a stab at it and maybe in 20 or so years my answer will have changed. I can't really say that any ONE piece of work has changed my life (see above). I've never been to the Met or the Louvre or any great European churches and monuments, etc. Hell, I've never even been to the local art museum (though not for lack of wanting). So, my experience with art comes mostly from the internet and books. What I have been most affected by would have to be Da Vinci, though. I am fascinated by his work. It's like I can never look at a Da Vinci the same way twice, theres always something new to it. The meanings the ideas he put into it. Emotion. I like to get emotional about things, I like to feel something. I like to be puzzled. I think I look at photography the sameway as I do Da Vinci. I expect something. A story, a feeling, an idea. Something.

    Now, I'm sorry you did ask for one particular painting, maybe for me it's Mona Lisa or the last supper. I know those are over exposed and maybe even cliched, but I am painfully ignorant of all that is out there. I enjoy looking at them and feeling something; especially the last supper. I want to be able to apply the same feeling to my photography that Da Vinci did to his art. I want, one day, for people to see something that I did and have it speak to them like Da Vinci speaks to me.

    *ah.. what would live be without unfullfillable impossibly unrealistic dreams?*
  28. LOL debate what, Marc? The one sided rose colored history of the United States government? I doubt you'll find any argument here; though it does make for a fun debate. We Americans know better than to actually defend our country in a multinational forum such as this in 2004, the year of the Bush; Redux. (though, again it can be fun)
  29. It's really hard to pin down one work of art. I think it's very important for photographers to develop a aesthetic view of the world. I frequent many art galleries and museums. I attend plays and concerts. When one immerses oneself in the arts it will have a spill over effect into other areas. This of course can only benefit the photographer. For years I've been into Surrealism so naturally some of my photographs have a touch of absurdity to them. If it's not strange, I have to really want to take the picture!
  30. "Boys- back to your corners. Don't make me call your mothers."

    It is not so bad.

    "Did any artwork change your life"

    Art as an intergral part of the evolution of humanity influenced our life continously until today. Nobody will want to deny this. It is the obvious.
    But apart from that, some art can also influence the life of an individual person in a significant way.

    Some pieces of art were done with a consciousness and inspiration that is far above the ordinary. Though some of these artworks may be very old already AND had their influence on society, their height or depth is NOT yet fully integrated in our lifes, they still hold a lot to be fully understood and appreacheated.

    The question "Did any artwork change your life" certainly was not to invoke "did Bambi make you cry" sentiments, which is a gross misunderstanding that lacks an amount of sensitivity.
  31. Bernd-

    I, for one, thought it was a great question that illicited a number of very thoughtful responses (and one or two trolls, but that's usually the case, isnt it?).
  32. thanks
  33. W. Eugene Smith's photographs of Minamata - 'Tomoko and mother'.
  34. Two Pieces: a Renoir and a Miro.
    When I was in Art School we took a trip to Washington DC. There was a small private
    gallery that had many high quality pieces of modern art. One was a Renoir that was
    absolutely breath-taking. The other was a small Miro painting. The realization for me was
    that no photograph, or magazine, or art book, could reproduce these images; they have to
    be seen in the first person to be appreciated.

    I can remember for years trying to puzzle out Miro and what was going on. This small
    original painting, hidden away in a dark corner of the gallery opened my eyes and I sat
    transfixed for about half an hour on the floor in front of this three dimensional image.
  35. Yes, this artwork. Hope photos are allowed among the Philosophy stuff.
  36. Hey, I’m just a sad illiterate soul, lost among you intellectual giants. Just have to question.
  37. Don't want to break the rules.Get told off and sent away. Hey, about another photo. This bloke broke the rules...let that be a warning....
  38. Sort of trying to get somewhere. But he tried to break the rules. Let that be a lesson to you all.
  39. How about.....
  40. Sorry, i will try to conform.
  41. As i was climbing up the stairs, i saw a man who was not there, he was not there again to day. I wish he would go away.
  42. I don't think any one piece of art has changed my life

    Your own vision can change your life. Lots of fans around here, of anybody, or anything. Maybe you should be your own fan. Sort of change your life. Maybe.
  43. I like Spider man. Cool dude or what. Cool custume. Not into the climbing buildings, height thing. Suppose i better do my own thing.
  44. There have been excellent art galleries I've been to that featured wildlife photography. I was completely drawn to the mountain and ocean photos as well as numerous wildlife shots. Since then, I've become an environmentalist and can't get enough time outdoors and I now want to capture the harmony of nature on film/digital too.
  45. My high school art teacher was always harping on me to work larger. I hated that bigger is better mantra. Then in college I discovered Degas-still my favorite impressionist. In our textbook, Jansen's History of Art, a magnificent $150 chunk of pulp worthy of any fireplace, there was a color plate of degas' Race Horses at Lonchamp(sp?)
    I loved it right away. It looked like a monumental canvas, full of tone and detail. That print measured about 8 1/2 X 11" in the book.

    Years later the painting was in a show at the MFA in Boston, I went to see it. It was about 7 X 10" in a modest frame.
    I've worked in whatever format was comfortable to me ever since.
  46. jbs


    "Eggs~actly" ....;)....J
  47. Allen,

    As for the first pic which has changed your life I congratulate you. You are an easy customer and I believe life will still hold a lot of adventures for you.
  48. Allen, to add:

    definatly the first pic looks much nicer to me than the fellow with cigarette, but the rest of your posting, including the cigarette fellow, makes me wondering if your life wasnt better before it was changed by the intriguing look of the first pic.

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