What is the relation between emotions and art?
I decided to separate the question and my (first) attempt to
deal with it.
When reading Christopher Kagy’s post
attempting to define
art by means of emotions, I was thinking about the relation between the two.
First, to show a pure emotion – anger, fury, joy – that is
art and it is hard. It’s hard to transmit these pure emotions, not to mention
mixed ones. Yet the emotion itself, even love, is far from art. Art is a
representation, whether it is abstract art or figurative art, and it has to
have the form of representation. That is, art can’t be X but has to transmit X,
it can’t be fury but needs to transmit fury.
But, does art have to include emotions? Can there be an
emotionless art? My first reaction is yes, but my second reaction is hmmm don’t
know. Let us take the example of Bach. Everyone would agree that Bach’s music
is art, yet he is often performed as to be emotionless. Of course Music has the
added complication of interpretation, so when reading the notes of Bach, is
there emotions there?
(Edna Stern plays
him with a lot of emotions, but Bach is
rarely played that way. Perhaps we could describe it as Bach through
Romanticism eyes through modern eyes.)
Is Cezanne about emotions? Do all of his paintings have
emotions or just some of them?
Do Yves Klein’s paintings have anything to do with
Movies, on first thought, seem to be filled with emotions,
but are emotions what makes them great? Even thinking about the films of Orson
Wells, are emotions what they transmit to us or something deeper, something
The more I think about it, emotions seem to inhabit only a
small part of what makes art art. They are often part of it, like part of our
lives, but our lives are more than our emotions, they are a world and that what
art needs to transmit. That’s what art needs to create.
To look at further examples, what about John Cage’s 4’33” (a silent piece)?
Is there any connection to emotions in that piece? Of course, I would
definitely call it art but many may disagree.
What are further examples you may think of of artworks with
a questionable relation to emotions?
What though can we say of the relation between the two?
Caveat emptor (buyer beware) – I may change my opinion of
anything I wrote here in 5 minutes time, or less, or more. It’s a tough topic.