When i was recording the interviews for my documentary on music there was this teacher from modern music who used a great metaphor to describe the work of the artist.” There is chaos and there is our society. The society constructed during it’s history a big umbrella separating us from chaos. Institutions like church and governments and family and moral codes and fashion and culture. Those are all parts of the umbrella that separate us from chaos. From time to time a mad man show up with a knive and opens up a hole in this umbrella. When he does that society gets exposed to some of this chaos. Soon the institutions go and fix this hole closing this window again. This exposure though hits the society and we have waves created by the original chaos. Each wave is broader and less intense because is already done by these institutions. If for and example Beethoven was this mad man and his music was the glimpse of the chaos he witnessed the movement it created was the romanticism. The composers that embraced romanticism where the first waves created and the more intense ones until all society assimilated this glimpse in a more confortable way. The institutions worked to keep up with beethoven’s innovations until they become tradition as they are today and like that they did it with all the holes all the mad men opened in this umbrella that separates us from chaos.”
I loved this metaphor and to me it really describes art in our society. You always have the ultimate visionary like Van Gogh. Sometimes these are recognized only centuries later on when the dust is already gone and history is more understood. Sometimes they are never recognized and only the next waves are understood. Maybe there was a mad man that opened a hole and what this man saw was passed on to another man that showed to Van Gogh so he would be the third wave in this movement. Nobody can know this for sure but once one of these glimpses are spotted it’s easier to find the sequence that followed it even if was not a first glimpse. So the real question that can not be answered is: Who was the actual mad man? Did we ever knew him? Did the known artists were so original in their work or were they following someone’s steps?And by that i mean someone that could also not been an artist at all. Maybe a scientist or a politician. Maybe an important man or maybe a bum. Just a mad man with a knive that opened a hole in the umbrella showing us the chaos.