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ENGLISH DOCS FOR THIS DATE- How to View Art (ART-11) - B840201

RUSSIAN DOCS FOR THIS DATE- Как Воспринимать Произведение Искусства (Серия ИСКУССТВО 11) - Б840201
Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex
Remimeo Art Series 11


There is a skill needed by anyone engaging in any of the fields of the arts, including writing, music, painting, editing of films, mixing — in other words, across the boards.

It is the ability or skill, native or acquired, to view any piece of work in a new unit of time each time one views it. One has to be able to sweep aside all past considerations concerning any piece of work which has been changed or is under handling and see it or hear it in a brand-new unit of time as though he had never heard of it before.

By doing this, he actually sees or hears exactly what is in front of him, not his past considerations concerning it.

The skill consists solely of being able to see or hear in a new unit of time as though one had never seen or heard the work before.

Only in this way can one actually grasp exactly what he now has before him.

When he does not do this, he is viewing or hearing, in part, what he saw or heard before in memory and this gets confused with what it now is.

If one can do this, he can wind up with stellar presentations. But all too often, when he doesn’t do this, he winds up with hash.

Some painters, for instance, will redo and redo and redo a painting up to an inch thick of paint when, possibly, several of those redos were quite acceptable. But he continued to try to correct the first impressions which were no longer there. By not viewing his painting in a new unit of time as though he had never seen it before, he cannot actually get a correct impression of what is in front of him.

Some painters or illustrators have a trick by which to do this. They look at their painting via a mirror. Because it is now backwards, they can see it newly.

There is another trick of looking at a painting with a reducing glass (like looking at a view through the wrong end of a telescope) to reduce the painting to the presentation size it will eventually have, let us say, on a printed page. It is quite remarkable that this reduction actually does change the appearance of it markedly.

But at the same time, a small painting, enlarged, can be absolutely startling enlarged when it did not look good at all small. But this is actually change of format, not viewing in a new instant of time. The additional skill of viewing something in a new instant of time is also vital.

When anyone engaged in any of the arts in any field has not acquired this skill, he never really knows when he has arrived at the point of completion. And he can often get a distorted opinion of a piece of work which does not any longer merit it.


There is another skill which is also acquired in the field of seeing or hearing.

This is being able to assume the viewpoint of the audience for which the work is intended.

There are certain areas which pretend to teach various arts, while actually covertly trying to wreck the future of the student, which stress “self-satisfaction” as the highest possible goal of engaging in any work related to any of the arts. There is, it is true, a considerable self-satisfaction in producing a good piece of work. But to profess that one works in these fields for his own self-satisfaction is to overstress the first dynamic to such a point that the work of the artist or technician then fails miserably. It is actually pure balderdash and a sort of a weak limping apology for not being successful to say that one works for his own self-satisfaction.

This false datum can mix up many artists and technicians who would otherwise be quite successful. For it blocks out the one test which would make him successful: the audience.

It is quite vital that anyone engaged in any of these fields be able to assume the viewpoint of the eventual audience.

One has to be able to see or listen to any product he is engaged in from the audience viewpoint.

He can, of course, and has to, view it from his own viewpoint. But he has to be able to shift around and view or hear it from the audience viewpoint.

There are some tricks involved in this. One of them is to keep an ear open for “lobby comment.” After a performance or viewing of any work or cinema or recital or whatever — not necessarily one’s own — one mingles with or gets reports on those who have just experienced the presentation. This isn’t really vital to do. It is quite feasible actually simply to assume a viewpoint of an audience one has never even seen. One just does it.

A mixing engineer often puts this to a further test but this is because what he is busy mixing on his high-priced top-quality equipment is not what the audience is going to hear. So he takes a cheapo Taiwan wrist cassette-player speaker or a 3-inch radio speaker from the local junk store and he listens to the program he has just mixed through it. This tells him what the audience will actually be hearing. But this is mainly a technical matter as it is true that excellent speakers or earphones may handle easily certain distortions in a mix or performance whereas the cheapo speakers shatter on them. When they do, one adjusts the mix without spoiling it so that it will play over a cheap speaker. This is a sort of a mechanical means of assuming the viewpoint of an audience. But the necessity to do this is introduced by equipment factors.

The truth of the matter is even the mixing engineer is not mixing to remedy “faults” but is mixing for an optimum quality presentation to an audience. To know when he has it, it is necessary for him to assume the viewpoint of the audience.

In all arts it is necessary to be able to shift viewpoint to the viewpoint of the listener or the viewer other than oneself. And this extends out to audiences.


What really separates the flubbers and amateurs from the professional are these two skills. One has to be able to view or hear anything he is working on at any time in a brand-new unit of time. And one has to be able to see or hear his production from the viewpoint of the eventual audience.

In other words, the really excellent professional can be fluid in time, not stuck in the past and can be facile in space location.

There is no reason why one should be stuck on the time track or fixated in just his own location in space.

Actually, just knowing that these skills can exist is often enough the key to acquiring them.