Sunday, 13 November 2011

Just Wondering......

     I watched Rockstar yesterday. In the movie, a character remarks that great art or literature is almost always the mental product of a tortured soul. I thought about the same thing many times. Music, art, literature have always seemed better when they were created as an outlet for pain. Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Tchaikovsky, Hemingway, Kafka, Oscar Wilde, Van Gogh ......the list of "tortured" artists goes on and on. Why is it that heartache can be an impetus for artistic genius? Why does sadness provide access to a fount of creativity out of reach to relatively normal, well adjusted people?

     Is it because profound grief provides us with a clarity of thought and a narrower focus? Maybe it is because torment forces us to look for avenues to express our deepest feelings, a coping mechanism, a cathartic outlet to rid ourselves of some of the pain. Or is it because anguish causes us to become more aware of ourselves, our psyche, our inner workings, our true self; resulting in the creation of masterpieces.

     All the greatest love stories from Romeo and Juliet to our very own Devdas are tragedies. Why is grief such a poignant theme in the most celebrated works of art or literature? I think maybe it is because pain and sadness evoke in us an empathy, a subconscious connection, if you will, to the work in question. It causes us to react at a more primal level rather than the purely cerebral appreciation shown towards art with other themes. Such art touches us to the very core. Listen to any of Tchaikovsky's violin concertos and you will understand what I mean.

     I also think that art born out of such emotions is pure, unaffected and sincere. Happiness can be faked but for torment to be believable, it has to come from within. One has to bare one's heart and soul on paper or canvas for the piece of art or literature to at least seem convincing. Maybe, it is this genuine and undissembled quality that our subconscious responds to. Or it could be the personal link we develop to the artist after being privy to an intimate and vulnerable facet of his self, his essence, his life that makes us more receptive to and more influenced by his work.

     Maybe just maybe it is nothing but pure chance and there is no correlation between sadness and great art. Just wondering........