Art creates meaning

Mathias Maurer

Art rebels and heals. Art rips open new horizons, drives unimagined abilities to the surface. Art transforms, directs the gaze towards the world and the world’s science seeks to reconstruct it. Art is result and process. Art is commerce, mass production, object of speculation, capital investment. Art is profane, decadent, sacred ...

Manuel is deeply absorbed in his painting. Lines, squiggles, crosses, colourful areas, patterns. He does not appear to have anything in mind. After a while I return to him. Proudly he shows me his sheet of paper: farm! Manuel fimly points to house, meadow, tractor, cow and cat. No, I don’t have to imagine it – now I can also see the farm, I just wasn’t looking properly.

Linda is also looking. She is in the Centre Pompidou in Paris, standing before the Cubist painting Femme en bleu by Picasso – “What is that? – Art?” I feel that I have to explain a little, tell her a bit of art history, can only give an indication of the position and depth of the work of art. Linda yawns, has already lost interest. Her comment: “Hmmh, you shouldn’t have to explain art ...” Indeed, is it art if it does not speak for itself?

I am at “documenta 13” in Kassel. I see a felt spade by Beuys. My teeth immediately feel furry as if I had eaten spinache. I am fascinated by this combination of materials – as I was in 1977 in the same place by the “Honey Pump” ... It is an evidential experience: bullseye!

Art lies before its communication, before its reception, like the word before language. Art can only happen, directly out of itself and be grasped directly – irrespective of age.