Too candid of me

June 21, 2019

Yesterday I criticized a work of a wonderful artist who happened to perform in a way that I didn’t like. I want to write down exactly what I said because everyone heard it the way they wanted to hear and some of them manipulated it in their minds. It’s so sad and disappointing how eager people are to seek drama instead of good. I just wanted to share my idea, my discomfort and simply asked why the artist chose to do her performance this way. Of course most people there didn’t know me so there were more possibilities to misunderstand but as to let everyone know, I defend what I said. I believe in it and I didn’t have any bad intentions.

The presentation/performance/activation:

The artist started laying certain objects on the floor. While she was placing them, she was also telling what they were, the material, where they came from and what she thinks they are. She is a writer so she also placed some books that contained her stories. She said what the stories were about and so on. So there lies a cloth and it's filled with many little objects that are visually very interesting and have so much potential to discover and play with but unfortunately every little detail about them was told the moment they were placed in front of us. Throughout this presentation I was really annoyed and I couldn’t help but say this:

“You put all these little objects here. So you give us information. Then you tell every little detail about them. So giving even more information. You leave me with no space for imagination. You bombarded me with information and now I have no space to discover, imagine, have my interpretation. I’m so annoyed. I’m really annoyed. Why did you choose to do it like this?”

She is the artist. She can do whatever she wants. Maybe she wants to annoy us, maybe she is researching a certain reaction from the audience. Maybe she wanted to change her way of performing this time. I don't know. But that’s why I’m asking right? She did something - I felt annoyed - I asked why - Then she told me why. What’s wrong with this? I heard from many people that it was so harsh. The way I said it was bad. That I humiliated her. One even inclined that I was being sexist. My intention was not to hurt her. I’m not saying “Oh your hair is ugly” or “Your clothes look weird”. Her artwork made me feel a certain way, made me react and ask this question. You can even take this as a compliment. It’s not that she told too much or showed too many objects, it’s just with the amount of objects that were displayed it was too much detail to tell and vise versa. She answered my question and that was fine for me. It was also nice to hear what other people thought. Some said that it was just a criticism and there wasn’t any humiliation. Some said it’s good that I said it because he was thinking the same thing. Some said it was too candid of me.

The important thing is, I talked to her and said, “If I somehow broke your heart or put you in a bad state of mind I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I just wanted to share my feelings and wondered why.” She said she was fine with it. Only that it was a bit too harsh but still she was okay with it. Maybe she is right, maybe I could have said this not in front of everyone but after the performance when I’m alone with her but there is something even more important here. There should always be a possibility to give your honest criticism without seeking evil. Art is an experience between the artwork and the audience. People’s manipulative minds or artists’ emotional reactions shouldn’t censor the critics. We should never forget the value of an innocent and upfront criticism. Art is there to be shared. Art is there to be celebrated, liked and disliked.