Art-Not Art, Art-Not Art

Sometime ago I made a flower arrangement, including two leaves and an orchid.  The orchid faded and I had to remove it, but the two leaves remained. I do not like to throw away plants, so after I used a stalk for a still life arrangement for my students,  I added it to the now flowerless, leaves-only arrangement.  Here is what it turned out like:


 I looked at it again and thought: oh, it seems that not all leaves are created equal. Here we have three distinct Characters.  They all live in the same water and are supported by the same pebbles. They are contained by the same vase. Yet they are so different in their Attitude – don’t you think?  These three leaves are in a Relationship.  Of course, the relationship exists only in the mind of the viewer – it is a human thing. Leaves do relate to each other in their natural habitat but this is only limited to their the struggle for light – and occurs regardless of whether or not there is a human mind to comprehend that.  

Before writing this post, I put the photo on my Facebook page and titled it “The Pessimist, The Optimist and the Poet”.  The comments it received were: a nice metaphor, witty, intelligent, beautiful

So, reader, look at the photo and tell me: is this art?

1- It is made of ‘found objects’

2 – It is a result of Artist’s intervention

3 – It is metaphoric – it is not what you see (three leaves in a vase) but something else that has to do with human character

4 – It is aesthetically pleasing (which, sadly, is not a part of the definition of  art these days)

5 – The whole thing happens in your mind. Outside of it, they are only 3 leaves in a vase with some pebbles.

So – art or not-art?


6 thoughts on “Art-Not Art, Art-Not Art

  1. Tom Ward

    Is it art? I think … it depends. If I created it, or better yet a floral designer, it would at best be a craft. It is its creation by an artist that makes it art. It is the creative process, the imagery, the meaning that makes it art.
    So, is this art? I think it is. But it is not the ‘thing’ itself that is art. It is its creation by an artist, and all that means, that makes it so.

    1. Boryana Post author

      Thanks Tom! You have taken the Duchampian stance – as long as it is made by an artist/or an artist says so, it is art. But then there is no particular artistic skill required to make a piece like this. Anyone can do it as long as they get their heads around it and the piece would have its meaning all the same. So the question moves to – what is an artist? Someone with a special skill or anyone with an idea?

      1. Tom Ward

        Well, not exactly that either.
        I think it is not enough that an artist created it, or tells me that it is art, for me to agree that it is. The viewer, the ‘critic’ if you will, must exercise some degree of discretion. As I say above, it is the creative process, the imagery and the meaning that makes it art, for me at least.
        The ‘thing’ itself is not necessarily art in my eyes, even if I am told it is. The context is important. In this case I believe it is your description of the composition that turns the art key for me. And perhaps that is at least part of what an artist is – the ability to turn that key for others.

  2. Desislava

    Разбира се, зависи от определението за art. Енциклопедия Британика дава следното определение на art :”Използването на умения и въображение в създаването на естетични обекти и среди, които могат да бъдат споделени с други”. Ergo, това е чиста форма на изкуство.
    Колкото до въпроса what is an artist? Someone with a special skill or anyone with an idea?, бих казала someone with an special idea and skill to present it.
    And that’s you!


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