After visiting the CCP exhibition a lot of ideas came into my mind. I have seen some really astonishing and evoking works there, especially two of them that have stuck in my memory. But first of all it is necessary to mention the whole layout of the exhibition, which is very thoughtful and advances the works’ ideas. The exhibition represents works of different forms: from the classic pictures, both framed and unframed, to the complicated sculptures and various objects. This helps the viewers reach a more complete comprehension of the works, for they are so different by their form, which enhances the idea enclosed in them.
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The first work which impressed me the most is the work by Justine Khamara Erysichthon’s Ball, which represents a collaged type photograph, made of fiberglass and wood, really big in shape (more than 2m in diameter), thus it can be described as a huge sphere with man’s head on it. The piece depicts numerous images of only one man’s head, which is shot from every angle, which these heads cover the entire sphere. And viewing it from different angles, or even walking around it, gives the viewer effect of only one man’s head which can be observed in detail. This is an outstanding piece of art which made me, for instance, think of our world and humanity: first of all I thought about the perfection of the both, and then I passed to contemplations of all of us, people, who inhabit our planet, there are so many of us and we are all alike (metaphorically speaking). Then I thought about enormous work fulfilled by the artist and the expediency of the art dimensions. But I am sure the artist’s efforts were not in vain, for the general impression made by this work is precision, completeness and magnitude. And this picture is a very good manifestation of Gestalt Principles. First of all, the form of the art meets one of these principles, i.e. symmetry. Being a sphere the work corresponds to our psychological needs to perceive symmetrical objects, thus, we don’t need to look for disorder, we can be totally concentrated on the work itself and idea it reveals (Arntson 68-70). Another Gestalt principle manifested in this art is similarity (Arntson 80-83), which is obviously detected since it is an image of one man, and this makes the viewer group these images into one whole, thus the viewer can see one big object instead of numerous little objects. To my mind it is similarity that reveals the idea of completeness, for due to the similarity our brain can perceive several objects for one. So using these principles the artist makes his message comprehensible, the artist makes the viewers’ thoughts follow his own and accept his perception of the reality. Here we can see the whole world built by only one copied image, which at the same time stands for the whole reality of the artist and our own reality which forms during this art observation. This work made me feel as if I was not observing a piece of art in a gallery, but I observed the whole strange world in galaxy, my own galaxy, which I borrowed from the artist-creator. And this feeling of universality made me drown in this world and I understood that each person is a part of a world, of course, but is also a whole world at the same time. For each person is a new world, a new reality with its own numerous images; and only sometimes we share our reality with other people, like Justine Khamara did, revealing her world via art and sharing it with me.
Another work that struck me is a picture of a little boy. This is a simple photo of an average boy, with a homogeneous background, and without unusual forms and techniques, actually without even a frame. But it impressed me by its sincerity and realistic tone, as if it was a photo of a boy from the family album. It is complete and at the same time it evokes continuation. It made me feel as if I found that old photo in the attic of our new house we just moved in, and try to make out the destiny of this boy: maybe this boy is that strange bold man we once saw here or maybe it is his distant relative who became a hero or at least movie star… In this photo it can be also traced some of the main Gestalt principles: figure/ground, for instance. That homogeneous background first of all draws our attention to the boy only, his face is the main and is the only image we perceive, for we are not distracted by the other objects on the ground (Arntson 47-48). And this face attracts our attention and never let us goes, for this simple realistic performance brings out warm and a little bit uneasy feelings. The boy’s face expression reveals an unanswered question, this image makes us think about that possible question. It is unclear what precise feeling is photographed: maybe it is request to give him something, or maybe it is fear of something, or maybe it is an offer to make friends… But this frank child face makes the viewer stop and, first of all, enjoy this child artlessness and try to figure out, the reason of the boy’s expression. And actually this boy’s look made me think of the difference between a picture and a photograph, and the right to exist or even the importance of the later. For while painting the artist makes out his characters and images, he creates emotions, which can be created by his arm, they, of course, can resemble that of the real life emotions, but will never be absolutely real. Here we are talking about the artist’s ability to implement on the canvas his/her vision of life and express his inner world. But photographs make it possible to hold the moment’s expression which will last for a second and will never return, this artless boy’s look proves, the truthfulness of these words. It is impossible to intentionally produce such expression, and he will never succeed in repeating it. Thus, the artist working with a camera shoots moments of a real life, the artist has only one chance to hold these precious images. And via these moments of real life the artist manages to reveal his own vision, his own world; so here the artist shows his ability to cherish the moment, then catch it and then share it with the rest of the people. And it is quite remarkable that the viewer perceives the beauty of the painter’s (for instance) hand, which depicts reality, but the viewer can enjoy the beauty of the reality itself, caught by a skilful and gifted artist.
Arntson, Amy E. Graphic design basics. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2007.