At first, the question seems easy to answer, the elegant paintings of Edgar Degas with his ballerina’s who float across the canvas, or maybe the gargantuan statue of David that Michelangelo so meticulously sculpted. Maybe even the bizarre sketches of Salvador Dalí come to mind. However, what really constitutes as art? I found myself wondering this very question as I toured Museum Brandhorst, a modern art museum in Munich, Germany.
There were such strange forms of art and I couldn’t figure out how some of the artists even came up with their ideas. “I could do that,” I thought to myself. As I continued to walk around and read the descriptions, I tried to decipher what inspired such strange creations and one particular work: Damien Hirst’s stainless steel pill cabinet called “The Void” stuck out.
The display includes 6,000 pills made from resin and plaster, which were then hand painted. The pills are positioned precisely on rows of shelves. I couldn’t help but stare in confusion. I thought to myself, “How on earth is this considered art?” I read the description under the title “In this terrible moment we are victims clinging helplessly to an environment that refuses to acknowledge the soul.”
|Damien Hirst's stainless pill cabinet "'The Void"|
I understood. Well, maybe not the caption, but the idea behind it.
Visual images often say what verbal language cannot. Instead of words, artists use images to communicate their feelings and thoughts, essentially the ineffable. The process of art allows the mind to soar to great heights and create an image that expresses, rather than states, the artist’s product, allowing the artist to describe, explain, or even challenge the world through a different form of language: visual art.