“The work of art leaves no room for indifference”


Not every creative work is art, not every artistic manifestation is a work of art. So, which are the conditions for a creative work to become a Work of Art with capital letters?

Each gender has its own, usually flexible, guidelines and rules. This applies not only for visual art but for all artistic manifestations: music, dance, theatre, cinema, photography, literature, poetry, to mention only some. It is a subject that fascinates many people and worries others. The limits are not very definite and the evaluation depends not only on technical criteria but also on the mainstream cultural focus, the historical moment and the geographical location, among others.

Some Criteria

In the world of plastic art, there are shared criteria that help the spectator recognize a work of real value. An artwork speaks with different voices. 

You can say it is a Work of Art when the spectator feels attracted and wishes to contemplate or experience it again. With its only presence a work of art produces an intriguing attraction, a resonance in us. Often, there is a physical reaction with a moving feeling that gives us goose-bumps. At other times, in contemplating a work of art the observer has a feeling of entering a new dimention. A work of art speaks directly to the heart, it reaches our soul. We identify it when we are changed by it, when it deeply touches our inner self.

A work of art gives expression to the most subtle, the invisible, the inaudible, that which we usually think does not exist. In order for the spectator to perceive it, it takes shape, image, word, sound, movement and, diving into that magic world, one can inhabit it and be part of that mystery. When a work of art emerges from the symbolic world it conveys something genuine that goes deeper and can create unexpected connections.

A work of art can also reveal and enlighten everyday aspects that would go unnoticed, being insignificant. In this case, the artist polishes it to its essence allowing its value to become visible, recognizable. It produces a new awareness.

A work of art does not intend to tell stories: it makes us feel part of the story, dives us into it. It is capable of generating emotions that reflect in our bodies and can activate our receptive antennae, even the most sensitive. It caresses our soul, a feeling difficult to express in words is experienced, we simply surrender to it.

A work of art also proposes a dialogue with the spectator. We believe an artwork is not finished when the artist ends its works, it continues to live and unfold in interaction with those who perceive it.

Sometimes it makes us react spontaneously, it can even irritate or provoke other strong reactions in us; at other times its language is silent. In contemplation or listening to it for some time, it whispers something to us. It moves us, embraces us and proposes that we recreate it in ourselves.

A work of art is the expression of new ideas, different phantasies, inexplicable intuitions. It also has the capacity to shake our way of thinking and incites us to see in a different way, it changes our point of vue, it brings up questions, it transforms us. But it can also happen that an artist uses a language so much ahead of its time that it cannot yet be understood. In general, the work of art leaves no room for indifference, it provoques either a positive emotion or one of rejection, it searches for presence, for change; it is a living creature.

Chapter from the book: “Creatividad: Testigos o Protagonistas?”

(Creativity: Witnesses or Protagonists?) by Silke and A. Benitez.

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