To look comes from feeling
Laura Carapeto, student of the Master's Degree in Curatorial Studiesbrings us an interesting reflection on the multisensory experience involved in the art of Looking.
Laura Carapeto, Hand under the yellow light, 2021
Experience is one of the most important axes for contemporary art, because works of art are no longer created just to be seen, but also to be lived and felt: to make the spectator part of the work, a co-creator. An example of this is Room for a colour by the artist Olafur Eliasson, which is currently on display at available in the museum. Guggenheim Bilbao.
The entrance to the installation is strange and confusing for the spectator, who wonders about the meaning of a yellow room. Yes, a yellow room and only that. There is no object, nothing specific to look at. However, in the midst of this uncertainty, visitors look at their hands and discoveries begin.
This large conference room contains a yellow light, blocking white light and thus the colours of the rainbow. So everything looks black and white: the veins in the hands turn black; that wintry blue coat is simply grey and those fellows on visit look like something out of a 1940s TV show .
Yellow has gone from being an option in your wardrobe to being a colour that floods everything, changing your perception of the world and the way you understand it. Can you imagine leaving that room still seeing it in black and white? Fortunately, this doesn't happen, but the lived experience makes an impact, provoking a memory. Maybe this is what contemporary art is all about: learning to look, allowing you to experiment.
I propose a challenge. Close your eyes for a moment and think of a work of art that struck you in its day. It doesn't have to be a painting, it can be a sculpture, an art installation, a dance or a theatre piece, whatever you like. Whatever you want. Do you have it?
Recall for a moment how you encountered the play, what you felt, what moved you and what changed inside you after watching it. At final, why were you silent when you witnessed it?
Looking is not just about looking, a lesson learned from the yellow room. It is about giving yourself the licence to experience, to feel, and then to look again, in your memory, in order to unravel the aesthetic experience. In this way, you will be able to give it a name, words, to share it.
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