On my last trip to Sydney I was given a gift of experience. One of my teachers often said that great gifts come in small brown paper packages. This was one of those small brown package gifts. Meeting up with the awesome Gavin Blake, Graphic Facilitator extraordinaire, he invited me to go to the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art , and the exhibition of Olafur Eliasson. (Surely a Positive Deviant)
The world of contemporary art has never been my thing. I like certain art, but I have never grocked contemporary. Give me a Manet, or Renoir. I am a BIG fan of photography. But a huge picture of red paint with a small blue dot placed somewhere has escaped my Virgoan sensibilities.
I am learning to say yes to more in life, and be open to seeing the world through the eyes of others, suspending my own view completely, if I am able. “If I am able” is the challenge. Can we jettison our own view and take the view of the other? This is what I ask the people I work with to do every day, so teacher, get to work and do the same. (As in, I better walk my talk!)
If I had of wandered, on the off chance, into this exhibition on my own, it would have taken me all of 5 minutes to view and I would have walked out in some form of disgust. Art! That is not art!.
Thank God for Gavin’s eyes, and his leadership and guidance.
As a die hard Bucky Fuller person, I was delighted with some of the very impressive structures, but walking into a blank room bathed in yellow light and nothing else, well, I was feeling conned. Then Gavin so delightfully said, “Great art cause you to ask…what the F??”
Yep, he was reading my mind.
Perhaps in our current times of crazy upsidedowness we need more great art?
He kept talking me through each room, challenging my thinking, my reactions, my experience. Inadvertently, almost against my better judgement, my rigid Virgoan mind started to crack open, even just a bit.
Then I found myself asking a question that is quite a central question to my passion and curiosity. “What was the intention behind the artist? What was he hoping would happen to the viewer?” “What message, or story, or experience was he seeking to convey?” If any?
I became fascinated by his process. (You can’t take the Virgoan analysis out, even if you do crack open the mind.)
At some point I surrendered that, and just allowed myself to be with the experience. The last two rooms, like a great piece of music, reached a critical crescendo. The final room, entered through a dark brick lined corridor, was breathtaking. Titled ‘Beauty’ a blackened soundproof room with high ceilings had one single fine mist fountain falling from the ceiling with a spotlight directed through it. The rainbow mist changed in appearance with every different position taken in the room, and the sound of the water, very soft, almost inaudible, added to the beauty of the experience. It was Beauty.
As I learned a few months ago working with the photographer on my new site photo’s, we can be looking at exactly the same view and seeing something completely different. I find that fascinating, don’t you? He was looking at a scene and seeing the light and colours through an experienced photographers eyes. I was looking at it through my all too quick scan eyes. I mean, how perfect is life that no two people look at anything with the same eyes? Sure, it means we have to work harder on being clear with our communication and message delivery, but what an incredible world that we can sit for hours watching a panorama and challenging ourselves each moment to see it with new eyes.
I am not sure I will become a raving fan of contemporary art. However, I am up for the experience of it opening me to new ways of seeing. I am willing to take the plunge into this brave new world. I am certainly willing to challenge my own view, and to have it be challenged. Thanks Gavin.
By the way, the exhibition was titled, “Take Your Time”