Art belongs, in my mind, as much to the artist as it does to the audience but in different ways.
A creation is completely dual in the way it can never be separated from its creator if one wants to understand it but at the same time it doesn’t need any context to be appreciated for what it is, to be given value. So being able to determine to whom it belongs in the end – to the author who created it with some intention behind it or to the reader who gives it his or her own meaning? – is very difficult.
Some say a creation belongs solely to the creator and cannot be dissociated from them. But what do you do in the case of someone who did things or thinks things that are completely opposite to your way of living? Can you still appreciate their art? What about Hitler’s paintings? Are they still art, knowing what he has done? Can you really enjoy Edgar Allen Poe’s POEtry (see what I did there? #lol) without knowing the tortured soul he was? Or The Rocky Horror Picture Show without knowing the political/cultural context of the time?
And others that it belongs to the readers/viewers/public who enjoys that art. But what if they use it in a way that was not designed by the author and that might contradict his or her view of their art? Or what if they change it from its original form to make it ‘better’ or more ‘politically correct’, can it still be considered as having the same meaning, the same impact as the original work? What if they read the meanings wrong or attribute it false ones?
How does one define the line of property for a piece of art (whatever it may be)?
I don’t have an answer to that question, I don’t know for sure. But It’s something that I think about quite frequently. I believe that, just as life in general is complicated, it is the same for art. There are so many different cases and scenarios… What I think I am able to say right now is that a creation should be able to stand on its own to a certain extent, that the public should be able to find beauty/interest in a piece of art just by experiencing it. And then, if they learn how it was created, what it means or what the artist wanted to represent with it, then the art piece can only become even more beautiful/interesting. So it’s paradoxical. The art and the artists are two different things that should be separate but at the same time completely merged together, thus creating a great piece.
I’d like to finish on the fact that I, for one, often insert meanings and references in my art (if I dare call it that), some of which are obvious and others are hidden from the public eye. There are some references I want my public to get, whether I hide them or not, then there are some that I design so that only people privy to the knowledge of my person will get, and then there are some that I insert here and there that may seem comprehensible and obvious (or not at all) but that no one except me will probably ever get. There are many layers to [my] art and I love that about it.
Now, I also think that, beyond what I meant to say, to make people understand through what I write (for example) I people should be able/free to understand/take out what they want from my creations. They are made to make you think, feel and be interested but not just in the way I designed them to be, also int he way you want them to be. And we come back to the paradoxical concept of art here because I want my creations to carry a message but at the same time I want them to be understood on a personal level by each individual who discovers them and in their own original way too.
Is there an answer to this in the end? I don’t, and probably never will, know if I am truly succeeding in this venture but I do truly hope that I do because that makes everything more beautiful. All I can hope is that some people do enjoy discovering and experiencing it as much as I enjoy making it.
PS: I realize now that I haven’t spoken about context until now but it is very important in my opinion. Because the context in which I write (or any artists creates) adds meaning and intent to a creation and so does the context in which people discover said art, it can change something beautiful into something ugly and despicable or inversely.
Sorry if this appeared as a bit of a rant or if it was incomprehensible, I just wanted to put into words what I was feeling and I pray that I did it in a sufficiently coherent manner. Also, example might have been a bit weird, I know…