The Good, Bad and Ugly in Art

What a challenge to transfer this Italian-Western* title thematic to Art!

Here several approaches:

  • the Art recipient (consumer) , approaches the work of art with the expectation that his taste must be tickled, otherwise it is ugly.
    Fortunately, this is not relevant for the art-savy, but it is in itself quite bad in the obvious lack of interest on the part of the art consumer.
  • the Critic (advanced recipient) considers the work of art through the spectacles of the criteria which art historical considerations provide for him: aesthetics (good) big business (bad) and provocation (this is often ugly)
  • The Artist (producer) usually positions himself deliberately in this coordinate system (good = aesthetic, bad = business, ugly = provocative)

For my work, I have noticed over the years, there remains a tension between aesthetics and relevance.

The search for aesthetics (good) in the presentation brings me to abstraction.

In my work, the provocation (ugly) does not actually occur.
Rather, I feel provoked by the themes themselves and in the processing them artistically I strive to get an approximation of relevance. Actually, my subjects themselves are often ugly: e.g. I use construction debris and refer to the stresses provoked by our constant modern mobility.

In my opinion, the discussion of these issues is quite relevant. However, whether this relevance is perceived by the interested viewer is in the realm of the viewers interpretation, not in mine.

According to Adorno, the work of art itself remains autonomous from the viewer – what a relief!
Michaele Helker

*The theme from the 1966 Sergio Leone film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly“ with Clint Eastwood

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