Sunday, July 27, 2008

ALEC: Sagmeister - What is art?

While researching Stefan Sagmiester I was thinking what on earth can I say about this prolific designer, let alone relate to. I then came across a reoccurring idea that pops up in most of his interviews. An idea, which makes a lot of sense to me!

The definition of art. 

            He states that his favourite art definition comes from famous musician and producer Brian Eno who says:

‘Not to think of artworks as objects, but as triggers for experiences.’

Stefan Sagmeister, Brian Eno and Alec Brown all on the same wave length!

            This idea is relevant to 21st century society were someone somewhere can stick a chair on a bicycle and call it art. To this person the ‘artwork’ may trigger a huge emotional response and yet when he looks at a Picasso he may feel little or no emotional connection. Sagmeister seems to let this idea seep into his works, as most of them are very personal and showcase his slightly oversized ego as well as his insecurities. Its like his subjects (often himself) have to undergo some sort of physical experience to create the artwork so that the audience can visualise the pain that accompanies each of his design projects. Is he trying to justify this pain by undergoing physical pain to create art? If this were the case then I would think he is a slightly insecure person as he is forcing the audiences own, personal experience of pain as well as the quality of the design to influence their reactions of the artwork. The work I’m essentially referring to is his poster for AIGA 1999.

When viewing this piece to from my own judgements I primarily react to my own personal experiences of pain and then secondly to the quality of his typographical design. Should it not be the other way around? Can art be art just for the sake of producing an experience in someone? Should art be judged on quality rather than experience? Sagmeister also agrees with Eno when he states that art is an ‘experience not a quality’ and I do to – to a degree. After writing this blog I’m not quite sure whether I’m actually on the same wave length as either of these enigmatic artists but what I am sure of is that I have had quite an experience!

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