There’s been an awful lot of discussion on Facebook about the Folkestone Triennial just recently - and in particular about the buried treasure in the harbour.
Thus I felt compelled to add my ha’pence worth …… sorry, but it was inevitable and anyway, I’m sure somebody will delight in taking up the cudgels and brand me an art Philistine.
I personally have little appreciation for the average product of what’s generally identified as ‘conceptual art’. Perhaps I’m missing out … . but I don’t feel any loss by it.
In my mind, the burying of valuable items of any description in Folkestone Harbour must be viewed quite justifiably, as a brilliant and effective publicity stunt for the Town. After all, it’s marginally like the California gold rush down there these days and I understand they’re far from all being locals.
I see that little number as nothing other than said publicity stunt and I cannot in my wildest dreams ever perceive it as art - conceptual or otherwise.
Art appreciation is a very personal thing and in my case it involves an appreciation of diverse offerings which evoke strong emotion within me.
I include that which will invoke past memories for instance, or visions which I find pleasing in their depiction of places within my ken - as well as the natural beauty of places or peoples I have yet to see.
My personal appreciation of art embraces many forms of music, for I have exceeding catholic tastes in this regard and can be moved to unashamed tears by a Chopin Nocturne as readily as I can by listening to certain modern ballads. Conversely, Liszt or Ravell may excite me every bit as much as AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd or African drumming.
My personal appreciation of art involves the written word - not merely because that is my own chosen medium - but because I have read and enjoyed many passages which moved me to excitement, tears and on occasion (dare I mention it), lust.
Most important of all however, my personal appreciation of art in ‘conventional’ form is heightened by recognising the effort expended by those who produce it as an outpouring of their own emotion. Whether their offerings be conventionally good or merely a personal best, is utterly irrelevant - just so long as they’re genuine and not pretentious - or produced solely to make money.
For instance, the visual depictions by young children in nursery painting offer an open honesty in their innocent perception of that which children see around them. Furthermore, a closer examination of their product will often yield some amazing insights hidden deeply within the child mind.
My own appreciation of art does not however extend to ‘artistic’ productions such as ‘Unmade Bed’, which I view as wholly incomplete and thus unacceptable to me as art - for it must intrinsically fail to provide the only honesty which would otherwise discriminate it from any other unmade bed in any other bedroom in any other part of the world - the distinctive personal aroma of the ‘Artist’ after a night’s tossing, turning, sweating and farting …. and anything else which may have gone on during the night.
If part of conceptual art is to shock, then I must indeed be a conceptual artist, for a re-reading of my last sentence has certainly now shocked me into a final unacceptance of anything to do with Tracy Emin’s ‘art’, even if she does come from Kent – and the same goes for that other chap who pickled a shark.
If I’m losing out by not appreciating this kind of art, then I’m happy in my ignorance but I do wish that the ‘art cognoscenti’ would stop telling me that because I don’t like much of what I see these days, I obviously don’t understand art.
Art is a personal matter and sweet nothing to do with anyone else.
I could go on about all this but I suspect I’ve made my point sufficiently as to leave it all alone now. Each to their own I say but please, don’t anyone push their perception of art in my face and tell me I’m ignorant …. I already know that.
I shall now quietly walk around the Town when I drive to Folkestone later today and I shall see whether there are any offerings at all which will excite my ‘artistic appreciation’
Certainly, I suspect it won’t be the odd shiny miniature water tower on a street corner - if indeed, that’s what those odd metal structures are intended to represent … … . .