What is art?


When people choose to go to a museum rather than a place of worship is when the world would change to be more secular – this has been the belief of many European philosophers. This change is slowly visible today. However, going to a museum has more relevance to our emotions and what they desire, rather than political secularism.

Museums, and especially art museums are used to represent to society what they want in the form of beauty, what they fear in the form of tragedy, or what they are hopeful for in the form of a symmetrically balanced painting. Art represents what we lack, or wish to fill our lives with. Many times it says a lot about the artist, but leaves the non-artist population wondering what purpose it is supposed to serve in the first place.

It is difficult to say what art is, since it is not as simple as a car is a vehicle that you can drive, or a bed is furniture used to sleep. Art can be a painting, music, dance, culinary, poetry, or even a sentence. Art is something that represents. It is something that makes you feel. It is something that helps you understand. It is also something that corrects you.

Many representations in the form of art, have healed humans in ways no one but them may fully understand. They pour their pain and emotions in the art. According to Bracha Ettinger, art as an outlet to pain yields the best healing. Since there is always a psycho-analytical aspect to aesthetics. She speaks of France, and how it was assumed that if you are an artist, you need to be a wild non-thinking person. As an artist and psychoanalyst herself, she found that to be unnecessary. You do not need to be bonkers to be an artist. And that’s what brought me to understand that the greatest form of art is thought.

Any one who has created art, may say that they have not spend much time thinking about it, and it is a natural process. But before every decision, comes a thought that takes birth through actions. Every piece of a performance, or writing interpreted as art, is a thought in action. A sad song, is the thought of feeling low reached fruition, by coming together of sounds and beats. Every book, every painting, and every speech, if original, represents an idea and thought in action.

Derrida said that art is corrective to our extreme attitudes. Since we assume everything to be black or white, or have one nice solution, or have some possible truce. That is not the case in real life. Real life often leads to a complicated mush of ideas and thoughts everyday. And it is art that allows us to represent those thoughts, by the medium we like, and in the way we like.

So art eventually helps you balance yourself, as a representation of your thoughts. With this perception, the philosopher may be the greatest artist – an artist of ideas. If you spend even a while crafting your thoughts, and thinking about your thoughts, ideating upon your ideas, and realising how everything is a representation of them, you may be one step closer to being an artist.

Art is not necessarily something that fits Fibonacci’s sequence, or is lauded by critics. Art is often something that just makes you feel and think.

3 thoughts on “What is art?

  1. Palak….interesting read! It is common belief that art is linked to creation. My view is that art is related more to expression than creation. As you have captured in your article every art form and artiste is looking to express and the end result of this could be creation. It also highlights the fact that everything is transitionary, because no artiste repeats their art work whether it is a painting, song, dance or sculpture. Great life lesson in this.


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