Matisse 1
9 / June

Which artwork changed your life?

Art can change lives.

There are two websites: Artsy and Elephant who are currently posting a series of articles from people describing an artwork that changed their life.


I found this to be quite interesting. Celebrating the way Art can really make a difference in someone's life, whether it is to alter your perspective, or whether it is to send you on a new career path. Art is often used to comment on current day affairs, and in the article below, there is a very good example.




Guernica (1937) - one of Picasso's most famous paintings, was made specifically to comment on the horrors of war. Picasso also refused to let it be sent back to Spain before 'public liberties were re-established in Spain'. He was serious enough about this to have legal documents demanding this.


This made me think about art in my life. I didn't grow up with much exposure to art, but have in the past few years found myself in and amongst many galleries and art fairs and the like. If I have to think about an artwork that changed my life, I cannot really pinpoint one. (That probably only means that I haven't spent enough time thinking about them).


At the moment I am enjoying discovering South African art and ploughing through our history. In the South African context one of the most breathtaking retrospectives I have seen was Christo Coetzee at the Standard Bank Gallery late last year. The impact of so many of one artist's works in one space gives you a glimpse of his world. And my, what a world he must have lived in. I wouldn't say that his work is something I would describe as my taste, but it was breathtaking. I struggled to close my mouth the whole time I was there. How does someone create these works?


In terms of non-South African art, I have always been a fan of Matisse. I struggle to remember when I first saw his work, but I have been a fan long before I saw any of his works on a wall, and not in a book. His focus on simplicity and only the necessary, combined with indulgent decoration and beautiful colours fascinates me. I relate in a sense to his absolute insistence to focus on only the necessary, and then to make that which is necessary beautiful and decadent and lovely.


I visited Nice last year, and seeing some of his works for the first time left me in awe. The whole experience of reading about someone for so long and then actually seeing works he made with his own hands nearly floored me! I would say perhaps, it was life-changing.


Have you seen an artwork that has changed your life? In what sense did it change your life? Or are you still looking...


Link to the article: