“The creative act is not formed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
– Marcel Duchamp
This quote I ran across reminded me of the recent discussion we’ve had here about showing your work to others or not.
I know that I am always fascinated to see how different people can look at the same piece and have such different reactions and experiences. It’s not just whether they like it or not, but why they do or don’t, what they see in a piece, what it makes them feel or think about, what experiences they’ve had that it reminds them of. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of being completely surprised at how someone reacts to one of our pieces and that invariably at least slightly changes how we perceive it.
When people react so differently to the same piece the difference obviously is in them. So it makes me wonder exactly what inherent quality or value is in the work without being observed by others. There is, of course, my relationship to the piece. But as it is shared with others, it is evolving, projecting it’s “inner qualifications” into the world, becoming something different than it would have been tucked away in my drawer.
I’ll keep repeating this to myself as I welcome hundreds of people to my studio next month for our Open Studio event…