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Art Is a Lie That Brings Us Closer to the Truth

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1204 words)
Categories: Art, Truth
Downloads: 38
Views: 22

“Art is a lie that brings us closer to the truth”- Pablo Picasso “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket; I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion. ” Art is exactly the same: it portrays the truth in the form of a camouflage of words, colour, and speech.

People say that art is an imitation of reality; however, it is in fact the total opposite. Reality is restricted by the laws of nature, but art isn’t.

It is boundary-less; it can be an exaggeration of reality, it can be the total opposite of reality, it can even be something that is incomprehensible to everybody but the artist. Art is a manifestation of our inner most emotions that even words fall short in expressing. At times a piece of art, may be the craziest of things, and yet may have enormous philosophical implications.

Art need not be an exact imitation of reality, it may in fact be a lie, and yet at the same time may compel us to view things in a different light: the truth. To talk about truth, we must first define it.

In this context, truth adopts a far more general term, which refers to everything in reality- emotions, relationships, pain, joy etc. By far, the greatest example that complements this quote is a painting called “The Treachery of Images”, which was painted by a Belgian artist- Rene Magritte. The painting is of a pipe, but below the pipe is a line in French saying “This is not a pipe”. Magritte justified himself by saying that if he had written on the painting that this was a pipe, he would have been lying, because it was just a representation of a pipe.

He said, it would only be a pipe, if “I could put tobacco in it, and smoke it”. Leo Tolstoy wrote a shot novel called “The Diary of a Madman” which is actually an autobiography, but was portrayed using fictional characters. The characters are lies, but it brings people to the truth of Tolstoy. The same idea can be seen in the novel: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, where the author Richard Bach, uses the metaphor of flight as a symbol to illustrate the significance of following one’s dreams even if it’s against all odds. The novel is totally fiction, in other words, lies, but has had the power to shake over a million people.

How can a lie have such profound effects on mankind? The only plausible reason is that, in some way, art brings us closer to ourselves. It helps us understand ourselves, our societies and other people with a greater sense of clarity. It was once said that “Picasso painted chickens that were more like chickens than any ‘real’ chicken”. Is this really possible- to portray something, that was taken from reality, better than it is in reality? This brings up doubts as to whether art is an imitation of reality, or whether art is a better reality than the original.

We define reality as what we see in front of us, but this is restricted- we may want something completely different, than what reality gives us, such as the death of a relative- this is obviously undesirable, but it is also inevitable. Art however, lets us create our own reality- it lets us live in a completely different world, a world of our choice. This is why a reality created through art has the appearance of utopia, as compared to what we live in now. However, if art is a lie to the extent of a false reality, how does this bring us closer to the truth?

Art may in fact be a lie, but through that lie it helps us understand ourselves much better- it allows us to go deeper into our souls, and in a way, it gives us some absolution. Art is not only a way of self-understanding, but is also path to help convey a message to society. A famous example in literature is the play Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. A Doll’s House was one of the first in the feminist movement. It was set in a time when women were oppressed into little holes- they had no role in the Norwegian male dominant society.

By the end of the play, Nora, the protagonist, leaves her husband to become independent. This is symbolical for the necessary change in the women’s role in society, at the time. Through this, Ibsen was able to use art to portray a message to society, so, can art also be considered as a language? It is in fact a language. It is the language of emotion, and at times, it can “speak louder than words” to bring about a greater sense of moral awareness. At times people may say that art helps us understand the experiences of others, it helps us understand the suffering other people may have gone through.

This, however, isn’t true. The only way for someone to experience something is to be right there, in the moment. It cannot be through another source. This is an area where art fails to bring us closer to the truth, because at times the emotion of a real experience is far greater than if it was portrayed through literature, paintings or drama. After the world war there were many war movies made that were intended to make society understand the pain and suffering that the soldiers went through, but as a famous critic says “the only way to recapture the experiences of the war on film is to put machine gun behind the screen and gun down the audience! ” A brutal, yet true point- there are certain truths that just cannot be expressed through art, in fact they cannot even be expressed in any form of knowledge. People may say that art as an imitation of reality is nowhere close to being a lie that brings us closer to reality, for, it is in fact an imitation of reality, and to call it a lie, is to call reality a lie.

However, the term ‘imitation’ does not necessarily have to refer to a copy-paste mechanism- it could also talk about a depiction of reality through different ways, such as the novel a Doll’s house, as mentioned above. Through fictional characters, a lie, Ibsen conveyed the truth about the Norwegian reality. Art is in fact a lie that brings us closer to the truth, because it is not reality, but it portrays a reality that we prefer, and so it brings us closer to the reality that we perceive.

Art is a mere refined form of the reality that we perceive- it brings out all our desires and emotions. Art also helps us understand ourselves in a better light, it reveals certain things about ourselves, and societies that we never noticed, or chose never to notice. There is so much hidden under just one canvas, or one book, that it is enticing just exploring it: the choice of words or colours reveals so much about the artist, that it is a far greater truth than what our eyes show us.

Cite this essay

Art Is a Lie That Brings Us Closer to the Truth. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/art-is-a-lie-that-brings-us-closer-to-the-truth-new-essay

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