Heart of the Matter
What the artist expresses, beyond his conscious intention (Message, concept, visual proportion and unity), contains the information the viewer subjectively perceives. The latter thus becomes a witness, recognizing within himself the archetypes which derive from the work of art.
When a person enters a space where art is displayed, he or she can exit that space with a variety of spoken or unspoken feelings, such as: a revelation - an epiphany - a comfortable sense of having been surrounded by beauty - an uncomfortable sense of having been threatened - the discovery of a new interest - a sense of having regained a lost or hidden territory - no feelings at all - etc. Each of those "moods" or "state of the heart" inform us about our relationship to the world around us and ourselves.
The first step for the creation of the "emotional guide" is to interview individuals on what they feel as opposed to what they know about a set of selected art pieces from the museum. The second step involves gathering those interviews and to present them to visitors on an audio-guide within the museum. This approach helps the interviewee and the public to a free and direct reading and a choice of what will resonate and be revealed to them. It does so by involving them in a highly personal process of awareness to creation.
Process of Interviewing
The one interviewed is given copies of the art pieces. With those comes a sheet containing a description of the project, suggestions of ways to go about it and examples. The interviewee, free to choose one or more of the pictures, is invited to react verbally or by writing using humor, his aesthetic appreciation, his sense of what is enigmatic, magic or poetic. Also his desire to express philosophic virtues, spiritual considerations or fundamentally something profound. Any affirmation is legitimate as there is no need to worry about coming up with "the right feeling". The only required effort is the use of profound playfulness. His task is to take the risk and pleasure of an intuitive reading, to evaluate what this means to him and find which process will be his. He will be given some examples of methods as well as of finalized products. Methods to create a phrase include among others: Narration, the creation of a title, random words (such as in automatic writing and other surrealistic techniques), reminiscence or an allegory.
The State of Museums
Art runs the risk of becoming cultural entertainment.
Museums have, among other things, a pedagogic function: To provide a place for learning. Equally important they are shrines for inspiration and sensory pursuit. While museums acquire art and display it, galleries display art and sell it. Behind those two activities lie different ideologies, two different preoccupations about displaying information. Nowadays, however, wherever art may be displayed (Museum, galleries, shops, TV or the Web), the means by which to inform are gaining in importance. The act of description tends to have more and more value (culturally and economically) in regards to the act of creation. The elitist description would contain standards whose appeal would be considered dogmatic (such as degrees of importance). The populist description would contain standards whose appeal would be considered democratic (any product is art, all art is a product, and thus they are all of equal importance).
Beyond any valuable description, the viewer needs to regain his active part in the creative process. His or her reaction to art adds an always renewed dimension to the work, gives it its immortality.
Jean Charles Dicharry