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← Art: a new perception | Lyubov Popova | TEDxSadovoeRingWomen

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Showing Revision 10 created 03/11/2019 by Ellen.

  1. Is art, given its indisputable value,
    accessible to us?

  2. How can we learn to perceive art?
  3. This is what I want to talk about.
  4. In the 1890s, Leo Tolstoy
    wrote "What is Art?"
  5. where he came to conclusion
    that it is extremely important
  6. to make art accessible
    to the broad masses.
  7. He exchanged letters with Stasov,
  8. his friend and an art critic.
  9. Stasov wrote:
  10. “So many people say great
    and clever things about art.
  11. But put them before a painting and they
    won't be able to articulate two words."
  12. He was referring to an inability
    to grasp a particular work of art.
  13. There is no doubt that knowledge
    of history and culture
  14. is important for understanding art.
  15. But that isn’t everything.
  16. You might know the history
    of Florence in depth,
  17. the life of Cosimo de’ Medici,
    read Machiavelli,
  18. you might know by heart
    whole passages from Vasari,
  19. about the Italian painters.
  20. But that’s not enough.
  21. Artistic image is something concrete,
  22. expressed in a specific work.
  23. This is the meaning of art.
  24. When you stand before the Florentine
    church of Santa Maria Novella,
  25. here and now,
  26. something should touch your heart
    and turn your soul over.
  27. The skill of perception
  28. augments our consciousness,
  29. the feelings we experience.
  30. It changes personality.
  31. A person becomes multidimensional
  32. and develops empathy:
  33. sensing and understanding another person,
    connecting to another person's feelings.
  34. Every time a person stands
    before a new work of art,
  35. it seems different,
    unique, not seen before.
  36. A person hones this sense of empathy.
  37. Perceiving a work of art develops
    one’s creative abilities.
  38. Our world faces many problems
  39. that require unusual approaches,
  40. require creativity.
  41. Our world needs creative individuals.
  42. Art is something important
    for every person.
  43. Society today is convinced
  44. that art is secluded,
  45. that it's elitist.
  46. But art is a product of all humanity.
  47. It is fundamentally open to anyone.
  48. You just need to learn
  49. how to perceive art.
  50. Learn it just like we learn to write.
  51. How can we teach ourselves and others
  52. to perceive art?
  53. I had to answer this question
    after graduating from university,
  54. when I started to teach.
  55. My students would readily learn facts
  56. about history and culture.
  57. They could name every element
    in the classical order:
  58. architrave, frieze, cornice, entablement.
  59. But they were lost
  60. when confronted with a specific work.
  61. Its meaning eluded them.
  62. An image in art always arises
  63. from an emotional jolt.
  64. An artist experiences a vivid feeling.
  65. This feeling won’t release him
    for a long time.
  66. He wants to share it with other people.
  67. That's when he looks
    for a means to express it.
  68. Each form of art has its particular means.
  69. For music, it’s sound and rhythm.
  70. In dance, it's flexibility of the body.
  71. In visual arts, it is lines, color spots,
    texture, proportions.
  72. Feelings can really be expressed.
  73. Take, for example,
    the feeling of tenderness
  74. and the feeling of passion.
  75. The feeling of tenderness
  76. is expressed in bright, light tones -
  77. pink-salmon, light blue, grass green.
  78. Those tones convey
    a sense of understatement,
  79. because tenderness contains
    as an understatement,
  80. even timidness.
  81. Passion, though,
  82. is something different:
  83. contrasts,
  84. both hot and cold tones.
  85. A dark space
  86. is broken by bright flashes of lightning.
  87. One’s blood boils.
  88. Feelings can be expressed.
  89. In art, feelings aren’t expressed
    in just one way,
  90. but in a number of expressive mediums.
  91. It’s a structure
  92. where all means of expression
    are bound in a single knot.
  93. I knew well that I had to teach
    how to see features,
  94. the differences between various means
    of expressions and structures.
  95. I knew how to teach that.
  96. One had to develop a keen sense of sight
  97. and the eye of an artist.
  98. I had to teach people to see,
  99. to grasp the difference
    between five shades of blue.
  100. To see the difference
    between different structures.
  101. Making comparisons, that's the solution.
  102. But to grasp art, it is essential
    for a person to feel.
  103. And how do you teach people to feel?
  104. That a line is not simply broken,
  105. it is nervous.
  106. That a line is not only solid,
  107. but also peaceful and calm.
  108. How do you teach people to feel?
  109. I didn’t know.
  110. I didn’t know how to teach people to feel.
  111. Then I asked myself,
    how did it happen for you?
  112. That was my breakthrough!
  113. I realized that for me,
    it happens through the body.
  114. When I stand before a Rublev icon,
  115. the golden tones ...
  116. immediately ...
  117. release all tension in my body.
  118. I breathe more easily.
  119. A sense of peace, even safety,
  120. fills my soul.
  121. But if recall Picasso’s Guernica,
  122. my whole being seizes up.
  123. My muscles are strained,
    I can hardly breathe,
  124. a feeling of horror sets within me.
  125. That is the feeling Picasso
    wanted to convey.
  126. That's how I formed a method
  127. that I call “Deep Perception”.
  128. What are the most important skills here?
  129. First of all, it is seeing
    and grasping structures.
  130. Not simply seeing disparate features
  131. but structural patterns.
  132. In this, my method is similar
    to Rudolf Arnheim’s views.
  133. But if he thought that the eye
    plays the main role in perception,
  134. my teaching practice
  135. showed that it is a multifaceted process
  136. in which a person
    and his entire body are involved.
  137. That's where I faced great difficulties.
  138. With every new group of students,
  139. we struggle for half a year.
  140. We have to bring
    their bodies back to life.
  141. Their bodies are static, or cold.
  142. Scary to say, sometimes
    their bodies are simply dead.
  143. This is very difficult.
  144. When people live within a dead body,
  145. they live with a closed ego.
  146. They do not escape the bounds of the ego.
  147. They cannot appreciate art or even
    the whole world around them.
  148. They react,
  149. but they cannot perceive it.
  150. And thus you get
    these aggressive judgements,
  151. “That's the way I see it.
  152. I love this!
  153. I don’t like that!
  154. I don’t like Kandinsky.
  155. I don’t like the work
    of Natalya Goncharova!
  156. Of course, I don’t like mature Picasso,
  157. and I obviously don’t like Dali.
  158. Ah, I forgot!
  159. I don’t like Rubens and his 'big' ladies.
  160. I don’t like him.”
  161. You should ask yourself,
    perhaps you just don't know how.
  162. Maybe you need to learn how to see
  163. and try to appreciate Rubens
    for who he is?
  164. If we only try to do it,
  165. the history of art will open up to us.
  166. Not just as a set of historical facts,
  167. semantics, iconography,
  168. but as a history of feeling.
  169. A history of feeling.
  170. I also made a very important discovery.
  171. Deep perception could develop
    one’s creativity.
  172. After lessons, my students
    would come up to me
  173. and say their lives had changed.
  174. That was moving,
  175. but only to be expected,
  176. because perception is the flip side
    of the creation of an image.
  177. An artist experiences a vivid feeling
    and incarnates it in a structure.
  178. A viewer standing before the canvas
  179. should grasp the structure,
  180. respond with his body
  181. and feel inside the same feeling
  182. that inspired the artist.
  183. In fact, by perceiving a work of art
    we give the image a new birth.
  184. We possess the same creative capabilities
  185. that the artist needs.
  186. Ancient Japan has a marvellous saying
  187. about the nature of art.
  188. They say,
  189. “When the soul of an artist
  190. is filled to the brim with inspiration,
  191. what overflows from the soul
  192. is a work of art."
  193. A filled soul is a requirement
    for making a piece of art.
  194. And a filled soul is
    a requirement for perception,
  195. deep perception of an image.
  196. If you live walled off
  197. inside the limits of your own ego,
  198. the world will be your enemy.
  199. You don't understand it,
  200. you’ll be scared by it and try
    to defend yourself from it.
  201. Art will teach you to overcome
    these boundaries,
  202. perceive another person
    and try to understand him.
  203. And then another person with different
    character, different background,
  204. customs, culture
  205. will open up to you.
  206. A point will come when you feel
  207. that he is your own kin,
  208. and you will love him.
  209. That other person,
    initially a stranger to you,
  210. is now here in your heart.
  211. This is so important in our world,
  212. with so many wars and conflicts,
  213. where there are nuclear weapons.
  214. It’s so important for us, women,
  215. as we’re always thinking about children.
  216. Art teaches us to be human beings.
  217. Mature, responsible human beings.
  218. Creative beings, the ones
    that know and love the world.
  219. Art is waiting for you.
  220. Get started right away.
  221. (Applause)