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Perfection In Art As A Utopia

Much like utopias, perfection in art resembles a dream, a desire, an “if only” - a state which is rooted in us but whose existence relies on others, societies, crowds. Although no one has managed to create a utopia whose borders, laws, and consequences are approved by everyone, or to determine the criteria to draw a framework around perfect art, thinking about the possibility of both is enough to shine a light on our soul, to pursue what comes next, and to believe that tomorrow will be better as long as we can get through today.

A State Of Self-actualization

Though the quest for perfection in art dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, or even an earlier time, for me, it’s a journey that is too subjective to be determined by an internationally agreed upon standardization due to criteria that kept changing every period. When an artist who cannot stop questioning his trust in his art and talent starts believing in his own utopia and perfection, his life comes to intersect with the luxury of self-actualization. If idea of creating this utopic perfection evolves into selfcomparison with the works or gain of another artist or the place of his art in society, that is, when the artist starts producing with the idea “I’m not as good as that artist” on one hand or “I would have done better if I had the same opportunities” on the other, he finds himself flung into another person’s utopia of perfection. The artist who finds his own utopia thinks, “How would I do it?” “or “I would have done it like this,” leaving traces of his artistic perfection, initially on himself. He can say, “Here I am and here is my art in its own perfection.” This is a state of selfactualization. Can there be an artistic existence that is as perfect as an individual’s self-actualization with the full potential of his colours and abilities? Can talent be about achieving this level of self-actualization where one doesn’t care about other people’s formula of perfection or about theirs up to that point of encountering their true selves? Can it be about rediscovering one’s self along with concepts and art in a personal way? As long as it’s visible, can this talent evolve into the individual’s journey into artistic perfection? I believe that one begins to discover his artistic perfection along such a journey, during which he examines the flaws determined by others. It’s not about being better or worse than another artist but about saying, “What’s another artist that is both within and in parallel with me? How would I create this work of mine as the artist I am now?”

Left: World-renowned painting Mona Lisa had been hidden to be protected just before the start of World War 2.

Right: Sculpture by Daniel Popper on exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Being Good To Your Flaws

Can someone become an artist, a good artist, a great artist overnight according to some, without experiencing this state of being buried in his own perfection? Let’s think about the works of Modigliani, who pursued his own perfection; weren’t they the same before and after his death? Modigliani, who wasn’t even regarded as an artist at one time, was seen as a good artist, or a great one, in another. If Modigliani, in his artistic journey, cared about how he didn’t fit others’ criteria of perfection and kept giving up on proceeding in his own perfection, wouldn’t he be sacrificing the possibility to be ‘Modigliani as good as Picasso’ since he would never be Picasso himself? Wouldn’t he be sacrificing everything for Picasso-like flaws which didn’t belong to him? We need to insist on our own utopia of perfection, keeping in mind the fact that we only have ourselves and our feelings, which innately and constantly change places with one another, and that we expose these variant feelings to the liking of others, who also have feelings in motion, through art. However, there’s also the possibility that we may discover our ability to set off on our own artistic journey. Regarded among the prominent digital artists in the video game industry, Chengwei Pan said, “Perfectionism is the desire for the object to be perfect; not a state of perfection for the object.” I find this a contemporary attitude which, as a non-artist, I advocate in my invitation for the artists I collaborate to “behave well to the flaws they encounter in the quest for perfection in their art. “Your art will not be perfect, but you should still strive for it,” it echoes in my mind. When an artist dedicates his art only to himself during the production process and isn’t interested in the consequences reflected on others, doesn’t it mean he’s attained the perfection of his art? When we stop caring about the awards and social media likes given to us by others or looking at our quest for perfection based on their values and criteria in judgment and keep creating in this mind-set, doesn’t it mean we’ve realized the utopia of our own perfection. When an artist brings others, who also look at their art through perfect eyes, into his quest for artistic perfection, doesn’t it mean that he’s creating fans for himself and a community for his utopia? It’s possible to imagine perfection full of artistic utopias, or a utopia full of artistic perfection. “But, which one suits my art more perfectly?” Well, let’s set our intention and see what happens.


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