Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Truth
Good art, like good acting, is very convincing when the viewer is predisposed and passive. The truth, however, is more fantastic than we can imagine. Image courtesy of Swampstyle.
This weeks Mot du Jour is again courtesy of Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times, who generously sanctioned the use of his erudite verbalisms for the purposes of our deified feature. Thanks also to Amir Bar-Lev, award winning Director/Producer who worked with Michael to generate this text.
“From any given event people take different versions of the truth. All of these truths exist simultaneously, sometimes they overlap, and sometimes they don’t. Truth is not necessarily one particular thing and everyone’s truths, different as they might be, are useful from person to person for one reason or another. It’s true that truth exists in a certain sense, for example there’s a guy lying on the ground with a bullet in his body; the bullet came from some gun; someone fired that gun; there’s a truth to that. Nevertheless, all of history whether its regular history, art history, economic history or whatever, is all a construction; it’s all a kind of a lie. It’s a story that we tell ourselves to make sense of the world, at least in this moment. At certain times other stories may turn out to be more important at which time the first story is shown to be what it always was, which is a kind of a lie. The new story is a lie too but it’s more useful to us at a certain time. And that’s fine, truth is not nothing, its not that there’s no such thing as truth, but it isn’t necessarily a particular thing, always and forever. I think that’s one of the beauties of art. In fact it’s the thing that we want most from it: that there isn’t necessarily a single message that you’re going to take from it that’s exhausted once you get it and you don’t need it again. It’s the kind of thing that remains open [.]”
Michael Kimmelman is Chief Art Critic of The New York Times. He is now based in Berlin, writing the ‘Abroad’ column for the Times on culture and society across Europe.
For more information on Michael Kimmelman please visit: www.nytimes.com