Recently I have been becoming more aware of not only my responses and reactions to certain things in life and to art, but the responses and reactions of others. Last week I attended a gallery opening in Sydney to support the work of visual artist Todd Fuller. It was a new exhibition of a series of work he had collaborated on with visual artist Mylyn Nguyen. Together they had combined and overlapped their works to create something new, mysterious and in my opinion ridiculously cute and whimsical. The exhibition consisted of a series of terracotta bears/characters made by Todd and decorated and dressed by Mylyn in various materials. To me each piece stood frozen in time and I felt that at any moment they could begin to move and come to life in the gallery. Because of this I began to wonder and create a meaning and a story to these characters journey up until now.
However the point of this blog isn’t to review the sculptures. My interest lays in the difference in response and reactions that art can trigger in people and how is this so. We visually see the same thing, but once it passes through the eye and into each individual body, it’s altered, changed, perceived and felt differently in each human being. This thought became prevalent when feedback from one ‘gallery goer’ was that they found the work grotesque and completely ridiculous, finding no possible way to connect, understand or receive anything from the sculptures. This instantly intrigued me and made me wonder where this person was coming from. Why did they have this response? Why was it so different to mine? How can one person’s response to art be drastically different to another? I know this isn’t such a huge thought provoking concept to be thinking about, this is art right? Of course we all respond to it differently, I realise this and I know that this is why it’s here, to allow people freedom of expression and to respond and react in their own ways. However it just got me thinking…..
It has made me more aware of how I am responding to art and situations and that everything connects and influences the next. As we live moment by moment, minute to minute it becomes difficult to allow our past experience to drift away. It becomes difficult to not allow our past experiences, thoughts and situations to affect our future experiences or the experiences that happen next. I believe that when we are exposed to art, whether an unusual gallery exhibition where we don’t really know what to expect, a film in which we haven’t seen the trailer or music from an artist we have never heard sing, responses can be extremely different. In this instant at the gallery this was my finding. I had no idea what to expect. However my day up until this experience was satisfying, I got to dance all day, work with other professional dancers, choreographers and artists on a new work to be performed in Sydney. I worked, I did what it is I am trained and qualified to do, and I felt great. I felt professional and successful on this day. I went to the gallery feeling open, ready for anything, enjoying the fact that I had finished a day of rehearsals and was off to see the opening of another artists work. I felt supported and welcomed as an artist in my day and so was feeling supportive and embracing of other artists. Did this dramatically determine my response and reactions to Todd and Mylyns sculptures? I am not entirely sure and never will know. But it did trigger thought. Why do we respond and react in certain ways to different situations, and can we take a step back before allowing our reactions and responses to impulsively determine how we feel about something. Can we make space, can we drop where we have come from, what we have been previously exposed to, the feelings and emotions from the past, can we let this melt away, soften, in order to see and experience something as it is, in the present moment and time of experience?
If we are allowing one experience to affect the next are we really experiencing things completely..? Is this a new experience..? Or is this a ripple affect of the one that just occurred..? Everything is somewhat interconnected and of course it’s probably almost impossible to let go of our past and previous experiences. They will always affect our responses, reactions and thought processes as they are a part of us. But are they…? Are they a part of us or are they just there..? Of course they happened, but do we have to hold onto them and make them who we are or let them control how we think, breathe and move in life?
When has this happened to you and you have noticed that your previous emotional state or experiences leading up to something have significantly affected your response or reaction’s in another moment.
My challenge is to become more aware. To notice, to allow myself to experience things with new eyes. This idea that our past experience affect’s our reactions, responses and opinions to things is something I believe is of truth.
Because of this is makes me wonder how we are limiting ourselves. What are we missing out on if we continue to live and experience in this way? What else is there to feel and think if we allow ourselves the freedom and space to approach things as if we have had no experiences prior to this one..?
What’s your reponse