How can an artwork provoke interaction between the artist and the viewer?
Watching from afar during lunchtime, two ladies, unknown to me, one younger than the other, were in a serious conversation. Both were pointing towards the 30+ watercolor artworks of Venice exhibited at the art festival. Little did I know that the enchanting golden interaction between us will have a profound influence more than 20 years later in my art career. Bridges Gallery.
I cautiously approached them after lunch. They now stood in front of the artworks.
ENCHANTING GOLDEN INTERACTION
The following golden, most rememberable conversation took place.
Artist: “Does the work provoke any memories?”
Older Lady: “This man who painted this lot of water, hasn’t achieved anything worthwhile in his life.”
Artist: “What do you mean?”
Older Lady: ” This man is afraid of taking chances. The painter has a problem with bridges.”
To tell the truth, I was dumbfounded. But before I could think of something intelligently to say, she continued:” This man has serious psychological problems.”
Artist: “But painting Venice, is mostly about water and bridges and the vaporetti and canals and….”
The older lady was now on the runway. I was more confused than ever. I looked at her younger companion, furthest from me, for some guidance. She just shrugged and avoided eye contact. Even though this was not the place nor my intention to embarrass the older lady, I said: “You know there is more than one way to look upon these artworks.”
I was pointing towards an artwork of an old English cottage covered by autumn leaves of a creeper, reflecting in the water.
“The bridge’s reflection in the blue water and the autumn color inspired me” I explained. Stressing the word “me”, I still tried not to embarrass her, so that she could understand that “this man” is actually a woman.
The older lady, not quite listening to my carefully chosen words said: “This man should learn how to overcome problems.”
I knew that this conversation would be remembered as a golden interaction between me, the artist, and the viewer. If she’d known me, she would realize that if ever I come across a problem, I would surely tell myself: ‘build a bridge an overcome your problems’.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH OR NOT AND WHO’S TRUTH?
I asked her: “Are you a psychologist?
“No”, she said. “But I was a teacher for 30 years and I know what I am talking about.”
“You know, I really take your advice seriously. I must admit that this is the first time that my art had this extreme effect on a viewer. This conversation is a revelation to me as an artist. Thank you for contributing to my artistic call”.
Realization dawned on her. She elbowed her younger companion, explaining to her: “See, this is the man that painted the water and the bridges!”
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