Continuing yesterday’s post – here is Alain De Botton, arguing for an instrumental use of art:
The idea that one might use art for a purpose, for “instrumental” reasons, tends to set off alarm bells. Art is not an instrument, comes the almost automatic reply. It shouldn’t be thought of as some kind of tool. It’s not a pill. It shouldn’t be asked to perform some specific function, especially something as egocentric as to cheer you up or to make you a more empathetic person. Art galleries aren’t chemists.
I couldn’t disagree more, Alain de Botton continues: If culture is to matter to us deeply, then it has to engage with our emotions and bring something to what one might call our souls. Art galleries should be apothecaries for our deeper selves.
I’m not sure of exactly what Laitinen’s picture bring to my soul. But spending time with art is amongst the most meaningful things I do in my life, even if it’s sometimes rather difficult to explain why.
Art pleasure might be difficult to explain, but it’s still worth investigating: Maybe I love art because it’s a consolation to see people investing all their time and creativity in the strangest of projects? Maybe I love art because it reminds me that life isn’t a cost-benefit equation. Maybe I love art because it makes my everyday world more magical, unpredictable, and beautiful?
What about you? Can you tell me what kind of function – if any – art has in your life?