fbpx

I have always been on the side of those who seek the truth,
but I part ways with them when they think they have found it
Luis Buñuel

 

Referring to ‘truth’ when speaking works of art is almost commonplace. Is it the artist’s truth, in which case it may be confused with the concept of the sincerity of his intentions or confessions (that logically do not concern us)? Or is it the truth of events and subjects portrayed in the work of art (which should not interest us, since they always pale in comparison to the world’s truth)? Certainly, however, whichever of these versions one accepts, it is clear that it will contradict art’s fundamental attributes and functions, such as its role in transforming reality and its dependence on the subjectivity of each artist’s language.

If the above are dark and difficult for all forms of art, they are transformed into a slippery and dangerous trap when associated with photography, a field so strongly linked to the truth that its artistic attribute is often disputed. In fact, how easy is it to deny the truth of photographic depictions of a visible and real world?

In a dangerous effort to analyse the above (dangerous because every analysis hides the danger of distortion), let us take for granted that an artist works with lies (aiming at internal truth) and dialogue (starting point being the internal monologue).

Scientists detect the truths of the world. To them lies can be nothing but an error. On the contrary, artists create something that would not exist without them. However, the only truths that artists can use as raw materials are the truths of the real world, which are used to base the work upon. The artist puts himself in the position of the creator and takes the truths of this world so as to create his own truth, which logically can be nothing but a lie, since in reality only something that exists is true.

This new world cannot be created in the void, nor can it use the codes and languages of the real world it aims to transcend. Creation needs its own frame, which is non-other than the world of art, artists and works of art, which have gone before. This, however, is another truth which the artist wants to and should use, but at the same time should deny in order to give birth to his own artistic proposal.

The continuous passage from lie to truth and from acceptance to inversion makes up the essential background for the artist’s dialogue with himself, as well as with the content and form of his works. The lie of the subjective world converses with the truth of the objective world (content). On the other hand, everything that the artist admires in art will support him, while at the same time captivating him (form). The truths of the world and art should give way to the personal lies the artist wishes to create.

The truth in art is nothing but the originality of the artistic lie and the authenticity of artistic dialogue. If these virtues exist, they will be imprinted in the work of art, so constituting its own truth.

The complexity of this process guarantees its mystery and, consequently, the duration of its charm. No one can ever define the truth, since it will always be defined with respect to the lie that gave birth to it.