Friday, April 8, 2011

A Thousand Little Seeds, A Thousand Little Souls

Photo by Konrad Wyrebek
My big question is: What makes something art?  What defines art?  Many people have different views on what makes something art.  Some people will say it is only art if you know what they drew.  For some, it’s only art if it has a meaning behind it, and for others it’s the exploration of art that makes it art. 

A recent exhibition at the Tate Modern Gallery has some people trying to answer those questions.  An artist by the name Ai Weiwei who is from Beijing, China created a  piece called “Sunflower Seeds” (Unilever Series).  It’s made up of millions and millions of hand painted porcelain seeds, each one is unique created by varies skilled artisans (Unilever Series).  The art represents a time when China was ravaged by Mao Zedong's brutal Cultural Revolution in which Mao showed himself as the sun and the people of China as sunflowers gazing upon him (Unilever Series).  For Ai Weiwei, it represents human compassion, individualism, and what can happen when people join together (Unilever Series).

I’ve included links to videos and more information on “Sunflower Seeds”.  When you look at this type of art, how do you feel about it?  What do you think of when you view it?  Is it art to you?  Remember, art is how you feel about it, not what others tell you to feel about it.  If Ai Weiwei had not explained how he felt about the piece and you had no idea how it was produced or why, would you call it art?

What defines this as art or does it?  The meaning of seeing each little seed as a human being changes your view of “Sunflower Seeds” you no longer see them as simple seeds but as individuals massed together forming one sculpture.  When I saw this piece, I thought of creation, God creates sunflower seeds and people each unique as well.  I also thought of me as one of those seeds all jumbled together with other people struggling for people to see me.  Even if you hate this particular work of art you have to admit it makes you think.

Looking back at what I wrote, I realized I never really answered those questions, in fact I only added more.  Yes, I know that this is not your typical Indie Girl blog, but sometimes being Indie is seeing if you can do something different seeing if you can think outside of the box.  If anything, I hope I at least gave you some food for thought and introduced you to a modern artist that you otherwise may not have known of. 

I don’t normally ask this but please if you have any thoughts on this let me know.  Tell me what you think.  Tell me what makes art; art for you.  Now this Indie Girl must go and create something! J

·         “The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei.” Tate, n.p. 2010.

Links To The Pictures: