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Happy as sandboys

Imagination is the only requirement for good times in our beautiful region. Spied at Golden Bay's stunning Wharariki Beach this week. How could you resist?


Anything goes

Submitted by Kaye Marie Jordan

Since moving here a year ago, Nelson has exceeded all my expectations. There appears to be simply no limit to the wealth of creative potential to be found in this region. Last month an outlet in Motueka transformed itself into Sotheby’s, offering art lovers the once in a lifetime opportunity to buy artworks created by some very famous names. It was reported that some people did indeed enrich their lives by purchasing some gems. Then, later in the month, an art shop in Richmond transformed itself into the Louvre to offer art lovers (who perhaps can’t afford the trip to Paris or who missed the Motueka experience) another once in a lifetime experience to view such artwork. The connection wasn’t explicit, but we might presume the artworks at the Motueka auction and at the Richmond show were of the same infamy. At this last event, one artwork was even generously offered as a spot prize for art lovers who perhaps wanted, but couldn’t afford to purchase such objects of desire.

What is real and who gets to decide? Is the artwork that you create, buy or win valuable because a particular person created it long ago, or because certain people from the other side of the world or an unquestionable thing called provenance says so, someone before you allegedly paid ten million dollars for it, or maybe you saw a strikingly similar picture in a book or movie?  Does it matter to you what the exchange of ten million dollars means or what ten million people think?

An artwork or concept may be qualified as appealing in terms of truth, beauty and innovation. But these terms are all subjective; it all comes down to the perception and perspective of the individual. What is true for one person is not true for another. All creation might be authentic to me, but you on the other hand, can render something false on any level that you choose. Same goes for beauty. All creation might be beautiful to me, but you can deem anything ugly according to you own aesthetic sensibility. Innovation is the part where truth and beauty are transcended in a way, because the form has no precedent. Something grabs hold of us and we can’t explain why.

An artistic person endeavours to maintain truth to materials and maintain truth to self, make something aesthetically or conceptually attractive and do so in a way that has never been done before. But the concepts of truth, beauty and innovation can be applied to any professional practice or lifestyle. Famous performance artist Joseph Beuys stated that:

"...every human being is an artist. I don’t only call artists those people who are painters, or who play the piano or who are composers or writers. To me, a nurse is also an artist. So is a doctor or a teacher. And so is a student or any young person responsible for his own development. The essential definition of a human being is that of ‘artist’. All other definitions of the word ‘art’ lead back to the idea that there are artists and non-artists, of people who can do something and others who can’t."

To live an artistic life is be true to yourself and find beauty where you can. And creating your own cliché is an innovative way to live. The art you make, buy in an auction or win as a spot prize is a Picasso if you say so. To someone else it might be a messy piece of paper. Picasso supposedly said that “art is a lie which makes you realise the truth”. This to me sounds intelligent and appealing and entirely plausible. Turning this statement around to “art is a truth which makes you realise the lie” sounds equally plausible. Or, what about “reality is a truth which makes you create a lie” or “reality is a lie which makes you create art”. If you can’t convince them, confound them. Basically, what I am trying to say is that anything goes, as long as it works for you. I just love the optimism and opportunism of the people in this town and in the little towns around it.



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