Culture Vulture

Posted on July 9, 2012

The last thing I want to become – well, not quite the last thing but something I wouldn’t be keen on – is to become a culture snob. Like, the type who thinks that there is an objective standard for the creative arts and that there is no room for argument or challenge, ie., THEY are the elite and you can only hope to be a poor imitation of the values which they pertain to embody.

Yet a sense of culture enhances the sense of standards and values and can be, well, very valuable in being a thoughtful and discerning global citizen. I guess, in a way, this is a somewhat long-winded way of introducing my personal quest to keep my brain alive in the immediate post-graduation stretch of time still lying before me. I’m going for a carpe diem (seize the day) approach, an equivalent of spinning a globe and seeing what country you land on.

Today I went, rather out of my way, to an art gallery in another city for the sole purpose of viewing and appreciating one artist; one Edvard Munch, creator of the iconic painting “The Scream”, amongst many other symbolist and impressionist works which indeed portray a rather wider spectrum of emotion.

I was all set to open my mind to an area of art previously overlooked by myself, but fell almost immediately at the first hurdle. That, alas, was the presence of Other People.

I guess I was hoping, on a late Monday morning, I would have the place pretty much to myself (ignoring the slight embarrassment of knocking around a gallery instead of working on a weekday in the first place…), or at the very least, enough room and space between myself and Other People to be able to mull over this diminutive collection in relative peace.

But I found myself honing the technique of “speed-appreciating” – admiring something quickly, a split-second of reflection then moving swiftly on. Granted this was not my preferred method of art-appreciation, but it was never long before one or more people huddled round a picture so tightly that you are at risk of invading their personal space in order to get a look in. I’m quite miffed that the closest I got to the original copy of “The Scream” was peering over the shoulder of a rather tall person. It was almost enough to make me want to act out the painting…

But the art itself was… eye-opening. It has awakened an interest in Nordic and Scandinavian culture which was already lurking under the surface, but didn’t quite know what to focus on. The work was, for want of a better word, relatable. Works like “The Dance of Life” contrasted with darker images such as “The Lonely Ones”, and other depictions of anxiety and isolation, which Munch in fact experienced much of during his lifetime. The particular employment of strokes and shading gave a personality to each painting, and it definitely made me want to look into it some more. Overall, very brief but quite interesting.

Finally; no I would not like you, upon my buying a ticket, to immediately attempt to “upgrade” me to a family season ticket, given that it’s just me here for the day, and I would to be asked to make a donation to be added onto the ticket priceI do not appreciate the built-in guilt trip this request contains and I will make a donation, but in my own way and in my own time.

It’s almost enough to put me off the whole “culture” thing, which is a shame.


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