An inflatable lifeboat made of wood, the translation of a novel of about 300 pages without the vowel e, a cardboard boat to sail to England… Works of art challenging reality are like chocolate with walnuts. Some people get energy from it or cannot get enough. Others experience an immediate allergic reaction.
Sometimes art is like a bet in which reality is at stake. The boats of Filip Jonker and the translation of the undersigned regularly elicit the following reaction: “That cannot be”. The moment this reaction occurs, the visitor or reader is faced with his own bedded way of thinking. At the most the makings are really clever, skilful or even ingenious, but certainly not art. Why then do such works fascinate us so much? Because of the expertise, the apparently sinful road or also because of the result, the final work?
Provoking art often overflows its limits. Boundless pieces of art shade the foreland and the backland of our way of thinking. Traditional thinking paths are flooded. Fixed dikes in our thinking which used to help us explain, sort out and rubricate realities, turn into quicksand. Such pieces of art aim at dismantling our convictions. For instance the conviction that language without using the vowel e would be impossible. Or the assumption that a cardboard boat could never cross the Channel.
Artists like Filip Jonker bring apparently unbridgeable quantities together: the material “cardboard” versus the function “seaworthy sailing”. It is not easy for us to bring together elements from different domains. Our reality is full of fixed solutions, which used to be valid but no longer have to be true. We are fixed in beddings with fixed meanings. The motive behind art is to make our automatic way of thinking visible, to break down current conventions. It wishes to break up rules and reality. Rules and reality which in day to day reality often coincide. The artist wishes to break down this day to day reality.
Once removed from the embrace of thinking, this art entices compassion. Compassion for the maker and the viewer. Compassion for searching and regaining direction and possibilities. Compassion for the person whose landscape has been changed irrevocably because his view on reality has been changed fundamentally. Because the glasses have been fixed so close and for such a long time to our nose that we don’t see the frame and the glasses themselves anymore. The ambition of art provoking reality is to make viewers, readers and visitors realize that they sometimes confuse reality with the glasses through which they look. That they consider unwritten rules reality. Rules which people together established as old conviction or well meant guideline. The function and ambition of this kind of art is to make this collective bedding, full of bars, prejudice and self-established areas visible.
Art wishes to expose how we usually define our playing field and after that doesn’t accept this definition. Only he who breaks the rules knows the playing field. This type of provocative art tries to redefine the playing field. Not to embrace the other playing field as the new ethical, moralistic or political reality but to show a different perspective on reality.
To make visible what in potential would also be possible.
Published in: book Festival of Arts “Grenswerk”
(c) Guido van de Wiel