4. Who decides what a work of art means?

It could be artists or audiences. It really depends on artists. Some artists are more comfortable letting audience make decisions, and others have concrete meanings that cannot be changed by anyone else. Unfortunately, even if artists explain the concrete meanings to the audience, some audience still may interpret the way they want to.

Robert Adams has strong feelings about nature and express it through his work, but he also knows viewers do not always share the same interpretation. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle also mentions that his art has underlying politics, but in his case, he does not want to tell viewers his political position. His intension is to have his art work as a platform to start debates among viewers.

When I create my own work, I try my best to guide viewers to the main messages since my work comes from specific concepts. I do not want to tell viewers exactly what to feel, at the same time, I cannot leave the meaning as whatever viewers feel like.


One thought on “4. Who decides what a work of art means?

  1. I agree that the designation of meaning in an artwork is ultimately in the audience’s hands, but that it is still within the artist’s abilities to direct the message of an artwork or try to convince an audience member of meaning. It becomes an interactive process of ones personal context interacting with the visual language of the artist, especially in graphic or symbollic work such as yours. Shahzia Sikander goes so far as to contend that even one’s personal approach to techniques in the making of artwork can affect the meaning and context related in the piece. The meaning of an artwork is changeable when interacting with personal experience and can only occupy a solid status of singular meaning when everyone interpreting it agrees upon the influence or meanings of the symbols portrayed or the contexts allowed to affect it.


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