in praise of “banality”

I want to feel as weightless as this baby (Lucas, son of British sculptor Marc Quinn, whose infancy has been captured thrice to infinity).

"Planet" by Marc Quinn“Planet” by Marc Quinn.

You can attempt to be cerebral about the mechanics of combining heavier and lighter metals to produce this work. (When my friend and I viewed this, we were trying to figure out how the illusion was maintained, and were at a loss as to how the framework was designed).

You can wax poetic about the hand gestures (an open palm, the other cupping the chest), the tilt of the head, the slightly parted lips, the angle of the body, perhaps the infant’s orientation and situation.

You can argue over whether this piece is provocative enough to inspire profound thought — Jonathan Jones at The Guardian dismisses what he views as shallow, insisting that “Art that flaunts its content in an immediately readable way risks vacuity. Shouldn’t there be some ambiguity, even profundity, in art?”

(I like layers and levels of meaning. However, I also find art discussions tedious especially when the rationale behind the artwork is used to justify its existence — I hate to be told what the artwork is supposed to signify when I’m not at all enamored of the artwork itself. I mind less the obvious, than the too-convoluted.)

Obviously, Mr. Jones isn’t a fan of Quinn’s. Neither am I, actually, if we’re talking the Kate Moss sculptures (the Moss mythos doesn’t hold much fascination for me) or Self (to be fair, his use of his own blood in an obsessive documentation of his aging and deterioration has more to contribute than the usual shock-value productions — tampons on a wall come to mind or excrement on white sheets, where I’m always tempted to say, “yes, we bleed and we crap and we die… get over it”).

Thing is, however, I’d rather not fix my gaze upon a bloody bust or Moss making a pretzel of herself or two skeletons going at it on the floor (i.e. The Selfish Gene). I’d rather stand and watch this child suspended between earth and sky.

Art is personal. We make what we make, dismiss what does not move us, and patronize what inspires us. It’s partly determined by taste, gut instinct, and feeling. Art can be a trigger.

Right now, I haven’t been sleeping very well, whether in very comfy and posh hotel accommodations, or in my humble, but also comfy and very familiar, home. I find it hard to concentrate. I’ve been more of an airhead than I usually am — and by that, I mean I tune out more often and communicate less effectively.

So maybe I envy this child’s weightlessness. I envy his peace, his sleep, his youth. And perhaps I wish, just a little bit, I had his security (despite the precarious pose). It’s that simple. I want to close my eyes, kiss the sky, and just drift.

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