Visiting an art exhibit can be a unique experience. These are experiences that mark us, and how to see and follow an exhibit is very important. I'll never forget my visit to the Joan Miro museum in Barcelona, and my brother laughing at the pictures, which he thought could have been painted by my two year old nephew. For me however, the best part of the museum was an audio guide that offered a unique experience: the artist himself explaining each picture. This gave me my first personal encounter with art. Hearing his own voice, explaining why he had created each piece and what was the creative process for each was something unforgettable.
Every day and every time I go to an art exhibit I hear some of the comments from people around and it frustrates me to realize that they are missing an incredible experience both culturally and personally, because the sight of a work of art is to see a reflection of oneself, especially in modern art. It is in my opinion a sort of psychiatric experiment where two people can see quite different things in the same painting or sculpture.
So I thought of making a small list of questions and reflections for when you are looking at contemporary art:
- What thoughts come to mind upon seeing the piece?
- Do I remember some other work that looks like this?
- What attitudes and / or emotions was the artist trying to represent?
- Do the colors have any meaning? Do they make you feel something specific? How many and which colors were used in the piece?
- Does the frame or component change when you move closer or away from it?
- Are your eyes drawn to any specific part of the piece? Why do you think so?
- Is it a flat piece or do you see any movement, volume or depth?
- How does this work of art make you feel? What mood does it bring out in you?
- What sounds come together with the piece?
- What smells?
- What would you change and what is that you identify with?
- Why is your attention called to this work of art in particular?
Remember, the more you observe, the more things you'll see. Art becomes a part of you. One of the most rewarding experiences for an artist is to see that other people are drawn to your art. When you realize that someone else understands what you intended to express and can identify with you through a painting or sculpture, it is a new form of communication on a more personal and profound level.
I hope the next time you see an exhibition you can ask yourself these questions and make that connection with the artist that I know will be satisfying for both. I look forward to your comments!!!