Why Tableaux Vivants
Ever since I was a kid I was interested in how things worked. I used to ask my mom the why behind every single thing that happened in my life. Be it something we had to do, or an object, or anything, I would always ask why. This curiosity led into my love of books of like "The Ways Things Work" by David Macaulay where you were guided into the inner-workings of multiple technologies and concepts by hilarious illustrations with a Mammoth or the Discovery Channel show "How It's Made." This curiosity kept expanding and to the point that it not only concerned physical objects and concepts but moved into fields like psychology and philosophy while still keeping its focus on the why.
Looking back today into that curiosity I find it extremely interesting that I didn't focus on the what or the how of things, but that I moved on into the deeper question of why, questioning the meaning of all that surrounds me. As a kid and still today it baffles me the reason why they come to be and the impact it has on the things and people around them. It's specially intriguing when it comes to art because most other things, like science and math, have a imperative reason to be; they guide the way we live, yet art exists purely as an expression of humanity. Why must we create art? What is the need and the use for it? Being at SCAD these questions haunt me every day. However it’s possible that a solution may have come to me over the weekend.
During SCAD's 35th Sidewalk Arts Festival, I volunteered to help out with an installation of Tableaux Vivants, a collaboration between several departments of the school to bring art to life. As I stood next to the "paintings" I started to see how people reacted to them. People were amazed by how accurate and beautiful all 5 of the pieces looked. They talked about how they were impressed by the actors' skill to stay still for so long, about how much resemblance each piece had to the original painting, and specially, the curiosity of how this project had come to be. However my favorite part was to see the children's faces as they walked around. They were taken away by the whole concept of a living painting. You could see the wonder in their eyes. The awe grew even more as they saw the two casts change positions and the paintings came to life and moved outside of the frame.
After seeing this it hit me. This is why we do art, this is why need art. Art is made to bring back the wonder that we all have inside. To take us away from our "know it all" attitudes and bring us to a place where new discoveries can be made, a world of new possibilities. We have art to break with the daily routine and to amaze us in a world were we may lose hope on what there is left to be amazed by.
I think this purpose of art is forgotten by both the viewer and the artist sometimes. The viewer as well forgets about the relevance that art has in their life until a new piece of art reminds them of the wonder there is to discover. As artists we frequently get caught up in the imperfections that we think our art has and we forget why we are creating it. For this I think it is good to both keep our eyes open with the wonder of a child who can't believe a painting has come to life, but also join the viewer as they look at our work and see how we have sparked a sense of wonder in others.
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