Modern art vs classic: is there any sense to argue about tastes?

Each time, in a new city an unknown force pushes me to the museum of modern art. Palais de Tokyo, Le Centre Pompidou, MoMA, MUMOK, Stedelijk Museum, and of course, Pinchuk Art Center at home in Kyiv. To be honest, 80% of visits bring me disappointment, and sometimes such mental trauma that I have to look for a way to cure it immediately.

Recently so it was in the Palais de Tokyo.  I remember most of all (of the entire exposition which I prefer not to call by name) the dark basement room with loud oppressive music and the skeleton of an old van in the center. A museum employee kindly invited me to sit inside. This exhibit was conceived so that it was possible to touch and even to take part. I kindly refused. The rest of the halls were decorated in approximately the same spirit: mountains of garbage and cans against the backdrop of African landscapes, pain, devastation, and poverty against the background of the (possibly) inner beauty of the human soul were drifting through the corridors of the museum. Here and there transparent silicone dildos were tied to the ceiling.  I lasted there for an hour and a half and ran off for L' Orangerie, to look at the giant canvases with Monet's water lilies and breathe again freely.

Modern art vs classic: is there any sense to argue about tastes?

But there were pleasant episodes. About a year before, in the same Palais De Tokyo, my student and I (I taught modern choreography at one of the Paris schools at that time) were so inspired by the exposition that we became a part of it literally.

We went into a small room with a projection grid onto which abstract light installations were broadcast. Something dedicated to the unity of nature-science-man. We spent about 20 minutes together in this room as if spellbound. Then she asked me:

- Do you wanna dance?

- Where?Here?!

- Well...Yes! Why not? There is nobody here, so we'll not bother anybody.

And we were dancing) One by one. Each of us just went behind the grid and caught a wave of light images, strange sounds that accompanied the projection. I was dancing for 10 minutes without seeing or hearing anything around, except for the unknown energy that overwhelmed me. Until the guard appeared.

By that time, 30-40 spectators had gathered around me. Poor things, they did not suspect that I should not be inside the installation. The guard politely explained that " we have to stop the lawlessness immediately, even though his boss (who is watching through video surveillance) likes the way we refreshed the exhibit very much ". In short, everything ended well, we were not even fined for a public order violating. But the memory about a little prank remained and a very pleasant one.

Modern art vs classic: is there any sense to argue about tastes?

What do I want to say with all this? Visiting any museum of classical art, you can be sure that you will see masterpieces. They can be clear or not. You can become inspired or fall asleep depending on your basic knowledge and taste. Without even knowing anything about painting, there is a high probability of being speechless, from the liveliness of a gigantic canvas of the 18th century, which somehow “speaks”. If you can see and feel, then the emptiness of the work will not be hidden from you, or vice versa, it will blow with beauty. The rest is a matter of taste. For me, contemporary art is the maximum freedom from any canons for an artist, which can lead to a new miracle, but more often - leads to a legitimate demonstration of the complete lack of knowledge of a real craft. Freedom of expression can be air for art or soil for the legalization of mediocrity, depending on the case.

Image by Snag Eun Park from Pixabay

You can give the viewer food for thought, remind the beauty of the world around us, or you can state banal facts, to add some informational noise to the world that already overcrowded with it. The museum is not a news feed on Facebook, not an evening news release on the country's main television channel. This is a place where the talent, the power of human imagination, and the beauty of creation are glorified. Yes, art can and should expose social problems and troubles. But first of all, it gives the audience to rest from everyday life, to believe in beauty, and to see it. So every time I go to any museum of modern art, I seek the ground for thought about something pleasant at least, and the maximum - I look forward to delight in the breadth of human imagination. This does not happen often, but I continue to search, to believe, and to find things worthy of admiration. Trying is the only way to discover something magical)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *