In the World of Art: A Drawing by John Berger

Pages: 5 (2117 words) Published: December 12, 2012
In the World of Art - draft 4
In the end of 1950’s the Pop Culture had just sprung off the new, hip, and trendy for of art; free trade was the new “it” and consumption was higher than ever (Trentmann). Among this new era of what is claimed to be the era of freedom, there was a man named John Berger who sat in front of a naked man, drawing frantically on a piece of paper that later would become/will become (jag vet inte vad du tycker ar bast?) the groundwork of his essay “Drawing.” As Berger, writing his essay from the perspective of an authentic artist, starts to examine the process of drawing from beginning to end, his work in Selected Essays will convey an author with divergent voices that will help us relate to the very abstract and complex ideas Berger expresses around the nature of art and the artist: we are travelling back in time with Berger to discover that due to the change in the social structure of society, art is not longer regarded for its beauty, but for it consumerist value. (Lita lang mening kanske?) And just as Berger infers that “for the artist drawing is discovery,” (10) the view of art will be uncovered for his readers. Nevertheless, an unavoidable confusion arises at while immersing oneself in Berger’s world: first and foremost the out-of-context experience one might perceive, and secondly, the lack of fully committing to the view of the world as merely looking at art. However, an unavoidable attraction to Berger’s work pulls his readers to the essence of his ideas, at it is among all these tangents, metaphors and strong opinions we find the true reward in Berger’s work: the historical evolution of art. When Berger in “Drawing,” writes about artwork of an object by combining an abstract and physical illustrations: he “dissects” the object “in his minds eye,” he claims that he as a drawer “felt [the objects body part] physically—as, in a sense, [Berger’s] nervous system inhabited [the objects] body” (13). This alienating experience is one that is common throughout his essays, but just as Berger assert in “Drawing,” we will need to exit our own mind, seeing the world from his time to perceive the world as a “record of one’s discovery” (10.) The metaphysical qualities of Berger’s work is a repeating pattern throughout Berger’s essays; he is constantly digging deeper and deeper in art related subjects, subtly expressing his opinions of capitalism and property. In “Drawings by Watteau,” Berger is in contrast to “Drawings” no longer the artist, but the art-critic; his narration alters into that of an expert on paintings by Watteau. By carefully analyzing and (ta bort “and”) the art of an artist, Berger claims that it is easy to understand the personality of the artist. In Watteau’s case, the contrasts in his paintings “give us a clue to Watteau’s temperament and underlying theme of his art” (191). And similarly, Berger uncovers his own personality in his essay about Watteau. It is merely the selection carefully chosen works of words, like “courtiers,” “guillotines will be fallen,” and “mortality,” that put together with a discreet tone of judgment towards Aristocrats, that will hint towards his enthusiasm of the French Revolution, and the end of monarchy in France: Berger subtly suggests using the art of Watteau, “that the world of aristocratic elegance” was doomed (191). Nonetheless, as Berger happily speaks of the ill-fated future of art, there is a strong sense of passioj (vad ar passioj? Du menar val passion?) underlying in his work. Why else would he spend an entire book, writing about the properties of art, and the way it has altered during years of industrialization? In “Steps Toward a Small Theory of the Visible,” Berger clearly absorbs himself in the world of art, as he continues to criticize the way we are apprehending art now, in comparison to how it used to be seen. Berger concern transmits to his reader, as he gives us the notion of our perception of art as disrupted by the technological...
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