By Marina Correa
|Jean-Michel Basquiat - The Film|
Works of art are explicitly made for the purpose of simulating one’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs… through the senses interpreted on the basis of images or objects. Perhaps, a prime reason why films on art are made in the very first place…
I was at the screening of 2 art films on the lives of neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the legendary Pablo Picasso at the Times' Kala Ghoda Festival 2013, Mumbai, and was reminded that we silently inhabit a milieu of interesting audience responses.
|Graffiti Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat|
With Jean-Michel being credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience to the elite art world, the film did touch a chord deep within. But for his untimely demise, the artist may have left an even more expressional footprint. An ethnographer I met said she liked watching art films, as artists express our innermost feelings; she could also identify with the fact that Basquiat didn’t take art seriously, but rather enjoyed it. “Such films take one’s mind away from the mundane and give us an insight into the world of great achievers,” chipped in a young lawyer.
|Untitled work by Basquiat|
One cannot deny the impact of this visual medium. Incidentally, there have been a multitude of art films, differently variegated, both in treatment and influence; and each tends to give you a little byte to take home. A Filipino working with an India-based NGO opines, “Art films emphasize disconnect between an artist and his works.” Although he could never imagine such brilliant masterpieces were created by a lonely and confused Basquiat, the film was hugely inspiring to him.
|1985 Tenor by Basquiat|
Surviving Picasso seemed to similarly impress upon him Picasso’s debunking of how art should be and his rather distinctive introduction of impressionism in art, which for our young observer is the mark of a true artist.
|Guernica by Pablo Picasso|
So what are we garnering from art films? A lot, I can say. Of course there are the exceptions, who tend to walk away mid-way through the screening; but holistically speaking, art house films make for intelligent and realistic cinema; a cinema that tends to impress upon the psyche and inspire the non-stereotype. An important reference point to the journey of an artist, which is riddled with solving the rigours of his inner self vs. rejoicing in his chosen medium of self-expression.
|Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907|