Analysis Paralysis

How long did it take you to do that? is often asked of artists in an attempt on the part of the viewer to understand their work and maybe appreciate it more, 'though in truth, the length of time required to make a work of art is for the most part irrelevant.

An honest and accurate response used by some artists is to simply state their age. The artwork may have taken anything from seconds to years to create in the physical sense, but it's the lifetime experience of the artist that should not be under-estimated.


The most important thing about the art world is the 'ART' and a problem arises when artists feel obliged to explain or even validate their work and in attempting to do so, distort it.

Artists are more frequently being asked and expected to talk about their process or motivation, to speak at their opening or to commit to giving a public talk in order to secure a residency, but a visual artist is not necessarily a poet and in any case, expecting them to 'explain' what they do, is beyond their role of responsibility. They make art, that is what they do! Interpretation is the sole responsibility of the viewer. 

Some artists are happy to give 'Artists Talks' and that's fine but many prefer their work to do the talking and that should be fine too!

Every novel tells a story because it's supposed to do that - It's not a visual medium. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations and performances on the other hand, are. They're not books and cannot be written down. If there are stories buried in there, they're to be found in the eyes of the beholders.

Visual art is in it's complete form as it is presented in a gallery or space, void of explanatory texts and with the exception of text based work, that's how it should be.


The study of art is a worthy pursuit and curators, gallerists and artist's essays can be interesting, entertaining and enlightening, but the current obsession of supplementing art exhibitions with lengthy texts or talks, and analysing works to death is overshadowing the work itself and in some cases could even be construed as an attempt to compensate for it's shortcomings. 


It's always hopeless to talk about painting  - One never does anything but talk around it. If you can talk about it, why paint it?

- Francis Bacon.


It's often unclear whether the increase in descriptive texts at exhibits is being directed by the gallerist, curator, or artist, but whoever is responsible is for too long now, smothering, if not killing the work.  

Artists statements, often requested by galleries, be they online or onstreet, also tend for the most part to be contrived, contradictory or just meaningless.

Check out the humorous Arty Bollocks Generator, hit the 'Generate Some Bollocks' button and you may even recognise some of the typical gobbledegook. 


For exciting original art to flourish it needs space to breathe and should stand alone without words, supplements or trimmings to prop it up.

Analysis has its place but if this mountain of academia really is about art, then art should stand at the pinnacle.