Art and Reality

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Arindam delves into the issues of art and reality, its interrelations and interdependence in this opinion piece.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” ~ Bertolt Brecht

Speaking strictly from the artistes’ point of view, it would not be out of place to state that a symbiotic relationship exists between art and reality, both in isolation and in relationship.

Reality – or more precisely the real – is independent of experience as opposed to the phenomenal or the apparent. It is the existent tangible world around us – the actual as opposed to the possible or potential, the very opposite of non-existent.

There are three stages of the real – the physical, the metaphysical, and the spiritual. Real in the most understood and gross sense of the word is physical. It pertains to that which is material. The metaphysical is concerned with abstract thoughts or subjects such as existence, causality, truth, time, being, etc. And the spiritual is the other-worldly, supernatural order of being.

At the metaphysical and spiritual levels of the real, elements of experience, that is, of observation, perception and inference creep in. At these levels, the academic and the so-called distinction between art and reality begin to blur, diminish and finally crumble to become non-existent.

The embryo of art is lodged in reality.

The seed contains the plant and is contained in the plant. It is in this context that we view the involution and the evolution of art and reality. Involution of reality brings about an evolution of art and vice-versa. At yet another plane, the involution and the evolution correspond to the ‘journey within’ and the ‘journey without’ in the psyche of the artiste. When the tension between these opposites is in harmony, at the point of zero-schism, art is born.

To the (target) audience, art is processed reality. Certain selective elements of reality are arranged in a pattern, so much so, that the pattern itself appears to be real. Anna Karenina, to cite a case in point, is more human than any of us. It can, therefore, be stated that when artiste is the processing unit, art and reality become one. And a dialectical relationship between the universal and the particular emerges as art or may I better call it ‘art-reality’.

Pix from Net.

Arindam Roy has 37 years experience in various newsrooms. He was the Managing Editor of a reputed Gurgaon-based Citizen Journalist portal and has held senior positions in several publications. As Correspondent and Bureau Chief, he has written extensively for Associated Press, Times of India, Hindustan Times and multiple news outlets. He has contributed 13 chapters to various publications. Of these, seven chapters were published in two Coffee Table Books, published by the Times Group. He is a co-author of a novel, Rivers Run Back that he penned with Joyce Yarrow. The novel was launched at the American Centre, New Delhi, on January 2015. He lives in Allahabad.