The fabled (or so it seems,) art statement.
The piece of writing that is meant to both give an overview and go in to some amount of details, to be general and specific at the same time. Simply put it is meant to give you a bit of insight into the meaning of a piece, a portfolio of work or the thoughts behind the artist work in general.
It is supposed to be eloquent without using too many arty terms so anyone can understand it but at the same time describe something that in some cases only make sense to the author, ie. the artist. I actually came across this quite frequently while studying and one fellow student in particular had such highly developed, specific and intricate ideas that most of the time she was struggling to explain it to anyone else, and not for lack of trying! And most of us were already fairly familiar with the art lingo. This particular person always created amazing work but even with the finished work was rarely able to get the idea across.
I sometimes feel that the concept of an artist statement, what it is relation to some institutions, can be quite pretentious.
As an artist, when submitting your art to exhibitions, further education or applying for scholarships or residencies in almost all cases you are required to also submit this poem of writing. I call it a poem because to write one of these statements is practically an art of its own. Because depending on how your statement is written, regardless of what your paintings or sculptures look like, you will receive a apologetic rejection or a confirmation of approval. The statement for you art, meant to spread clarity to the observer becomes the entry itself.
This can be quite frustrating if you are working with a simple idea, say for example the beauty in color combinations and implied movement. There are only so many sentences you can use to describe this. Whereas someone who may be working towards reflecting the deeply seated fears of people born in 1972, through shapes and color as specified by Freud, will have a little bit more to write about. At a glance the second concept might sound more intriguing but is actually complete gibberish (I literally just made it up).
As someone that tends to keep it simple, it makes me wonder; what about a simple idea makes the art less interesting and engaging? And why is the overtly complicated, valued higher?
Surely art can be for more than deeply confused thinking?
I believe that as an artist there is more that I am able to share with you through my art. And to be fair what is the point of a highly evolved idea, however great it might be, if the art isn’t executed to a level that can embody it? What is the point if you have to read a two page essay to understand what you are looking at? Or even worse after reading the statement you feel like you read a text for something entirely different.
I won’t ever do like some creatives, who create a piece of work and then make up a text to go with it unrelated to the reason and real motivation for the piece, to make it seem arty.
I for one want to be able to inspire something simple and honest with my art.