Monday, April 27, 2009

Sport, Art and Me

Hadyn Green over at Public Address started a thread on Sport and is it Art nothing new except for once I wrote and wrote well - This is what I wrote.

I’m probably taking this waaaay to seriously however…..

Depends on whether Art is solely in the eye of the beholder, or the intent of the performer counts for something.

I can get with that and I would qualify it with this misquote from someone whom I can’t fully recall.

Art is what exists in the dialogue between the art-moment and the individual exposed to it. As such, each exposure is a unique art product. Unconstrained by specific intentions the artist may stimulate the process without necessarily defining it. Viewing with artistic intent is as important as viewing a de facto artwork or artist; this sees art as only requiring the intent of one or other of the involved parties. Hence art is what we experience where artistic intent exists on one or both sides of the dialogue; in this way the question is not who the artist is, but where the art is to be found or experienced.

I like this idea as it allows for art to be incidental and for distinctions between art, sport and craft to be largely irrelevant.


For example it makes no sense to me at least, to draw an artificial line between the absorbed, involved manipulation of chaos demonstrated by Jackson Pollock and the absorbed liberation of action from apparent chaos demonstrated by Ronaldinho. There is a clear dyad between these artists and the complex changing forms that surround them, both of whom seem to be able to capture something sublime from apparent randomness.


Compare Picasso’s Guernica with Jesse Owens performances at the 1936 Olympics, you cannot separate these actions from the politics and complexity that surrounded them. Each in its own way was beautiful, profound, historical and dare I say it misunderstood at times.


I challenge you to say the Valerie Villi’s actions in Beijing were not pure theatre; creating a micro-climate around her in order to elevate performance and its eventual outcome. She manipulated those around her as effectively and indeed beautifully as she propelled the shot, keenly interacting with the act, the audience and the occasion. So too does Damien Hirst appreciate his role as art creator, manipulator and marketing man. Not only does he create the work but he deliberately manipulates media around him to create a context for his work; performance and theatre as a subtext for an artistic act.


Here’s the one that clinches it for me. Look carefully at the deliberate, determined perfectionism of Yves Kline in his creation of IKB and that of a sprinter, thrower or diver. They seek perfection in clearly identifiable form through deliberate repetitive search only then to explore those forms in different contexts. More compellingly Klein wrote quite early in his career on “le Vide” (the void) an ethereal sense created by an artistic act. Compare this with accounts of “being in the zone” or “flow” and you get the sense that our artists and sportsfolk can and sometimes do occupy the same intellectual space in pursuit of particular goals.

So to be quite contrary Art is because I say soand that is what really matters.

The best excuse I ever heard.

The drunk stick is a tale of the best excuse I ever heard.

Back in the day when Universities selected rather than marketed and tutors spoke to students individually, I was given pastoral responsibility for some fresher’s (yeah that’ll be the responsible me). Within my care was a young southern Irish fellow who was really struggling to come to terms with the end of fresher’s week. Indeed when rarely sighted in daylight hours, he appeared to be headed for the Rugby Fields. By week eight other tutors began to notice and it was up to me to remind our young friend of his academic obligations. I sent a letter, phoned his home, and finally collared him outside the student union (on his way in !). We set up a meeting and he didn’t turn up. I sent the official first warning letter and he phoned to set up a meeting at 10:00 am a few days later. The day of the meeting at 10:00, our chum was a no show. He did finally show up at four in the afternoon and this is what I heard (the names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Brendon; Oh hello sir (in deep Irish accent) I’m so so sorry to be late sir honest I am.

81st: Really ? (sarcasm)

Brendon: Yes yes for sure, I am sir yes, honest, see it wasn’t my fault I really, really did mean to get here at ten……

81st: You were delayed then ? (arches eyebrow)

Brendon: Oh yessir I surely did it just well….gasp…

81st: You don’t appear to have any broken bones…….

Brendon: No sir it wasn’t like that – it was just that last night I was walking home one my own minding my own business….when I got caught…

81st: Caught by whom ?

Brendon: I got caught walking past the dark doorway of this bar….when suddenly a shadow jumped out and beat me wit de drunk stick…..

81st: A Drunk stick ? (both eyebrows raised )

Brendon: Yes Sir the shadow hit me round the head with the drunk stick and he hurt me so he did. In fact he hit me so hard that I had a terrible headache this mornin’ and had to stay in bed ‘til it went away…..that’s why I’m late (triumphantly !)

81st: So does this happen often and is there any way we can help you circumnavigate this particular door way in future (trying to suppress peals of laughter)

Brendon: It’s funny you should say that I was givin’ the matter some thought myself…

81st: Well that does sound like good news…….

I believe that Brendon abandoned his original course of study in favour of medicine ?