The other day, I went to White Cube Bermondsey to see the works of Imi Knoebel (and Al Held).
You know, I loved all of their work, but one in paticular by Knoebel stuck out to me.
It was called Hartfaserbild and is made out of hard fibre wood— 160 x 130cm.
It was essentially a slab of wood, unpainted, unvarnished, devoid of decoration, alteration or any discernable artistic qualities.
It looked like surplus MDF on a wall; no disrespect to Knoebel, but it just did.
I’ve been trying to affirm my understanding of what art is for ages; not only to me personally, but in general— Hartfaserbild drove it home for me.
Art is the sale of an idea by way of an experience.
When I say sale, I don’t neccesarily even mean using money. Sharing is a sale. Exhibiting is a sale. Offering it for purchase, is also a sale.
I grew up hearing and learning about Dali’s Lobster phone, Duchamp’s Urinal, Emin’s unmade bed and the lot.
People like to argue: that’s not art. This is art. This isn’t art, that’s art. Art is taught to be a logical, physical, expressive thing.
But really, art is just an idea. Ideas. You paint a landscape and put it on a wall, you’re essentially selling an idea to an audience.
You piss in a bottle, and put it on a plinth in a gallery, that too is an idea being sold.
Art doesn’t even need to exist for it to be real or valuable; that I learned from Marina Abromovic, and it’s true.
You know, that slab of wood by Knoebel, will more than likely sell for a bankers annual salary, even though it likely cost two figures to make.
Pretence aside, that is what art is and that’s all I can say at the moment.