Monday, January 19, 2015

Taking a Look at 'Blind Portraits'

Alice and I were at the southeastern edge of Central Park and came across these sculptures, the latest installment sponsored by the Public Art Fund.

They reminded me of a previous bronze-cast Public Art Fund installation – "United Enemies" – but the current sculptures have no faces or bodily features.

It turns out there's a reason for that. The work, called "Blind Portraits," was created by Chinese artist Sui Jianguo while he was blindfolded.

Here's the description from the Public Art Fund site:
For Sui, this apparent limitation is a means of finding a different – and equally valid – method of creating sculpture. In this way, the artist brings together traditions of Chinese aesthetics and Western modernism, both of which share an interest in exploring the essential nature of materials and the effects of chance.
I liked the work, but the "equally valid" bit felt a little forced. If art created while blindfolded is equally valid to everything else, than why bother using our eyes at all?

Then again, the Ninth Symphony was created without the benefit of hearing, and it is certainly "equally valid" (insomuch as it's considered the greatest piece of music ever created).

So there's that.