I've had the luck of late to once again transcribe the words of artists, curators and critics from this year's ART HK International Art Fair, and the Backroom Conversations program organized by the Asia Art Archive. I've pulled my laptop out into the garden with my view of blackberry bushes dripping with fruit, the occasional skunk walking by on a mission to the compost heavy with remains from Shawn and Amanda's wedding last weekend.
I've opened iTunes on my iPhone, slipped my earphones in, and have been transported to the halls of the Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong, and the latest innovations in contemporary Asian art. On quite a few occasions, I've pressed stop, sat back, pondered the combination of New England country bliss and extraorindary thoughts of artistic inspiration, and decided how lucky I am to be able to do this.
I wrote down the rapid words of William Wells, co-founder and director of the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Cairo. I heard his amazing insight into the Egyptian revolution and how artists have fought for freedom and for their voices for so long. I heard a panel discuss ink painting and whether it's contemporary or not. I sat there and heard Wucius Wong discuss leaving the small islands of Hong Kong to the mountain ranges of China. I heard about the moving tent cinemas of India, and a new way of viewing the Gutai artists of 1960s Japan, the direct connection between Pollock's drip paintings and Shiraga Kazuo's mud painting. All these artists looking, looking, watching the world and capturing it.
Artists remind us of what's real. We get so caught up in the media, the stories of the day, the Google News list of things to fill your mind with. We are sometimes unable to see the human condition at the heart of all these stories. Artists offer us that. They dismantle the idea of ever having objectivity, and give us the view from their minds, from their lives, from their experience. They provide their story, and we understand humanity by peering through.
Artists inspire me, they remind me to keep on tracking down my experience. To keep thinking deeply, to keep questioning. To wake up.
(Photo credit: Isamu Noguchi, (1904–88). Source: Wikimedia Commons)