“Art and knowledge have a common enemy called ignorance.”
he most frequently asked question about art is: “What is art? ” Primitive people who drew pictures on the walls of caves, such as those of Altamira in Spain or the aboriginal painters of Australia who made dreamtime paintings, for instance, knew what their art was for. Art for them was a way to connect to the forces of nature and the world of the spirit.
However, as civilization progressed and art branched into many forms there has never been a unanimous consensus or satisfactory answer as to what art is, but lots of different and contrasting viewpoints.
The reason is that nowadays art is a different thing to different people. To the artist it may be a way to express oneself and hopefully also of earning a living. To the viewer it can be many things according to her/his own education and sensitivity. To some it may be a hobby or a therapy; to the art historian an interest in the history of art; to an art gallery owner a business and a profession; to the collector a way to possess artefacts either as a form of investment or, if the artefacts are very valuable, as symbol of one’s wealth and social status.
Given that nowadays some artefacts can reach absurd prices of millions and even hundreds of millions at upmarket art auctions or galleries, and sometimes for banal works that nobody has the foggiest idea of what they mean or would want to have in their homes this begs another question which is: “What is the real worth of an art object?”
An answer was given by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) who said that if would stand on the bank of a turbulent river and saw a Rembrandt and a kitten being dragged away by the current and that by jumping in the river he could only save one of them he would choose to save the kitten. Later the French painter Henry Matisse (1869-1954) and the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) made a similar paragon substituting the river with a house on fire and the kitten with a cat with both saying that they wouldn’t hesitate in choosing to save the cat.
Lots of sensitive, animals loving people would probably say the same, though in practice, considering how rich they would become in rescuing the Rembrandt, some of them would choose the painting and leave the poor cat or kitten to its own fate.
In the Mneme9 method various figurative arts such as drawing and handwriting and even digital techniques are practiced to stimulate creativity and spontaneity as well for strengthening the memory rather than for the sake of making a work of art.
The Amazing Artists
As an end note to this page, I would like to mention some artists whose works emphasize the power that art can have in improving the quality of life and giving a meaning to it.
They are the mouth and foot artists who though not having the limbs needed for producing artworks that able people often take for granted, with exceptional tenacity and dedication turn out lovely pictures thus enriching their own lives.
In a nutshell their amazing artistic achievements are just a question of mind over matter, or let’s say of making the best with whatever little one has at one’s disposal, in their case painting and drawing pictures with their mouths or their feet.