CTColumn:: Concerning organic dialogue and barbarians

“Let me witness their faces light up when we come to a mutual understanding… We are always surprised by how the organic dialogue leads us to unexpected territory.”

A couple of weeks ago, seated around the fire in a Swedish forest on a lukewarm summer evening, I was trying to articulate a frustration of mine to my family members. They were sweet enough to pay attention, but ended up looking like question marks, as often happens when career-related issues are being discussed with wine infused relatives.  Maybe you can follow my trail of thought as I am writing this sober.

Stephanie enters the exhibition and all she sees is the singular products at the end of the production line of the painter. There is also a price, specified dimensions and materials used. Stephanie is left alone with her experience of the works and being an art lover; she engages fully-heartedly with the patches of colour and responds to it with her abilities.

Personally I can’t do this anymore, because at some point I got tired of having that internal dialogue concerning other people’s work. I require a meeting with the artist. Let me smell them. Let me hear them describe their work in their own words, let me see the colour of their eyes changing as they reach a certain subject. Let me register what they don’t mention and notice the nervous body language which signals that they have left the ordinary pitch. Let me witness their faces light up when we come to a mutual understanding… We are always surprised by how the organic dialogue leads us to unexpected territory.

“Where does she get it from?” becomes an increasingly interesting question. We live in exciting times when anything goes, but in the back of my head I hear J.P. Getty’s words “The Twentieth-century barbarians cannot be transformed into cultured, civilized human beings until they acquire an appreciation and love for art.” To love art is to love your own ability to create and express that which cannot be articulated in any other way. Barbarians of the 21st century – how about us? We steal, we lie, we cheat, back-talk, gossip, deafen ourselves with TV and random entertainment and wage war on a global and on a personal level… It has to be said that we are lost.

“…it was clear that could she have freed her mind from hate and fear and not heaped it with bitterness and resentment, the fire was hot within her.” Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)

Forgive me Woolf, I’m not bothering about politics in this world-wide kakistocracy (kak·is·toc·ra·cy, [kak-uh-stok-ruh-see], government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power) and spirituality should stay where it belongs, in the metaphysical realm (otherwise we can throw cleaver quotations amongst each other in eternity). So what can we do?


Stephanie eventually bought a painting which reminded her of the ocean. The gallerist is happy and so is the artist and the artist’s agent. Each of them can proceed on their path; it’s all good. It is just that I am convinced that we can do better than that.

Elinrós Henriksdotter, Founder and Chief Editor


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