Sunday, 24 January 2010

Devil in the Detail

There are points in the production of artworks where decisions need to be made about what is intentional and what is accidental. Sometimes the accidental qualities of artworks can be interpreted as having a close relationship or contribution to the meaning or associations of the work. Such serendipitous circumstances are a very welcome addition, which enhance resolution and resonance and are often highly prized by artists for this very reason. But much more common and undesirable are the accidental details which detract from the overall effect or undermine the integrity of the work. This is why many artists are obsessively punctilious about every aspect of the work they produce. They recognise that it’s unwise to ignore even the minutest detail or nuance because these are the very stuff of articulate and refined expression. To take the view that certain elements of an artwork are irrelevant is to make a fatal mistake about the perceptions of one’s audience and to assume that there’s an automatic and commonly regarded hierarchy of relevance based upon what one intends rather than acknowledging that every detail contributes to the whole. Bad luck and good fortune are flip-sides of the same coin – so, if superfluous details are irrelevant then serendipity is also. This would be like narrowing our palette to a reduced spectrum where both the highs and lows are disregarded because our perceptions are either too coarse, too insensitive or most likely too ignorant to notice.


Post a Comment