What’s your definition of “Art”?

What’s your definition of “Art”?

“When the creative spirit stirs, it animates a style of being: a lifetime filled with the desire to innovate, to explore new ways of doing things, to bring dreams of reality.”  By Goleman


Thousands of years ago, our ancestors used to scribble on the walls of the caves and domes. They then slowly began to carve the stones and paint the handmade canvases which still somewhere occupy the world’s greatest museums till date. Now we create such astonishing things that those ancestors of ours wouldn’t even have dreamt off. From Painting and Photography to Films and Sculptures, from the Classic and the Impressionism to the Abstractness and the Surrealism, surely these are one of the mankind’s most interesting and amazing artforms.

For an instance let’s look at the picture above, Did you get the essence of this contemporary art form? What’s so great about it?  Isn’t that a normal decor piece?  No, this is not some normal décor piece, but this is one of the masterpieces showcased at India Art Fair 2018. This piece is named as “hole” and is made by “Luz Peuscovich- an explorer”. She made this installation of 21 circles of organic material collected in the forests of different countries. In the process of collecting, she questions how what we call organic nature actually manifests itself and she reflects upon the different forms nature adapts. As a consequence of the elements that combine into infinite manifestations, nature appears anarchic and diverse.


In its most basic abstract definition, “Art is a documented expression of a sentient being through or on an accessible medium so that anyone can view, hear or experience it.”. The term ‘Art’ includes, but is not limited to, folk art, music (instrumental and vocal), creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphics and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, radio, motion pictures, dance, drama, television film, video, tape and sound recording.

For me, Art is nothing but a way to run away without actually running away from anything. Yes, whenever I feel like escaping the reality, I paint or sketch. What interests me more about color is that it is not the fact and is a fiction. And as much as we try to establish it as factual, it cannot be contained because color changes with the light, it changes through the course of the day, it changes from person to person and with the perception, one is looking at it.


I recently came across a completely different concept of Art according to which, Art should not be comforting, it should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish. And hence each person walks away with a completely different perception of Art. To your astonishment there is also a concept of art called “Rebellion Art Form”, and some unique examples of which were demonstrated at India Art Fair this year. For an instance refer to the picture below. I clicked them at India Art Fair. Both of the below-shown Art pieces are the fine example of rebellion art form. These both are made by late modern illustrator and painter, Brij Mohan Anand (1928-1986) – an artist whose work registered a singular voice of protest against neo-imperialism, cultural indoctrination, nuclear warfare and the capitalist system. One can just dive in such art form and articulate meaning of each and every element of the painting only to later thread them with creativity to form a complete picture.



So, to conclude with- The word “Art” is probably one of the most ambiguous and controversial word ever. “What is Art?”, “Is all Art equal?”, “Is all Art good?”, “Can good Art be bad?”, “What makes a work of Art?”, “What makes an Artist?”, “Aren’t we all Artist?”, “What if art is not the Art?”.  Everyone has their own preference and opinions. My taste and your taste may not be same. Art is not there to please or displease us. It is there to augment reality and offers possibilities. It is there to amplify human condition, reflect the zeitgeist of the time and provoke us from emotion to question, to action, to chance. It is not about the pleasing outcome, but about the intent, the impact and the process which is critical to innovation and creativity. At last, my question is still same “What’s your definition of Art?”


Antra Tripathi

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