hands 3, photograph
“I wished to copy nature. I could not. But I was satisfied when I discovered the sun, for instance, could not be reproduced, but only represented by something else.”
– Paul Cezanne
Another worthy distinction to bear in mind as an artist – the difference between reproduction and representation.
As a creator and as a viewer of art, I find representation much more interesting – and, of course, as Cezanne says, you really can’t reproduce another thing anyway!
There are many choices that go into deciding how to represent something. You have to make decisions about how your approach will be like and how it will be different from the thing represented. This provides ample room for interpretation and expression. There are an infinite number of ways to represent something, a very finite (perhaps singular) number of ways to reproduce it. As a viewer of art, trying to understand how and why the work represents it’s subject offers a visual and intellectual challenge that engages me.
When I think about representing, I am forced to consider what are the essential qualities of the thing so I can attempt to make those more evident in the piece. This deepens my understanding and experience of my subject in a way that simply reproducing it does not.
Just another way that artmaking is so much about the process, not just the end result.