A SPEECH GIVEN TO FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS
One can teach how to compose poems, but one cannot teach how to write poetry. One can explain the rules of versification, basic measures, and rhymes, but a figural structure of a poem, its emotional depth emanate from a poet’s individual experience.
An artwork able to inflame and arouse deep feelings of an audience is inspired by an artist’s absorption in his work and by his emotions. The works created dispassionately as a result of the efforts of pure intellect and prudence will leave an audience cold.
At the same time, if an art product (especially, it concerns the decorative and applied arts) doesn’t carry in itself a certain reasonable ground, doesn’t serve a certain aim, but represents a chaotic, although emotional game, it can’t be considered as a full-fledged artwork.
That’s why an education of an artist is an extremely difficult task, which involves two main issues:
1. An individual must possess an ability of perception and emotional reflection of reality; he must be able to transform the reality into imaginary world, which is boundless in its diversity and fertility of imagination.
2. An individual must possess the means of artistic expression; he must acquire professional skills of craftsmanship and an ability to express an idea of his artwork in a laconic and expressive form.
In the first case a role of an art academy is very limited, while a subjective side of an artist’s self-education is primary important.
The history of arts knows several examples when an ability of the imaginative interpretation of the reality exists absolutely independently from the professional artistic school, for instance, works of primitivists (Rousseau, Pirosmanishvili), folk craftsmen in different fields of the decorative and applied arts. In this case we are mainly attracted by an original sincerity, innocent perception of the world, although those works contain many “mistakes” in the formal proportion of depicted forms, and so on.
If we limit ourselves to imitation of the original folk art only, there would be no need entering any art school, one could create relying on his own internal world of an artist, developing and improving it. It would be an expression of inner need, desire, which can’t be confined within the strict limits.
It is unlikely that one has to make birds sing. They sing because it is their vital necessity.
That’s why the role of the art school at the first stage of your education consists in cognizing your inner world of an artist, your perception of life, your visual thinking, and trying to help you to develop by yourselves those groundings that you already have. The years of your study in the art academy are a piece of your young life, when one can’t walk alongside the art, as one walks along the beach watching the surf. One has to plunge into the art like throwing oneself into the ocean; one has to swim confidently and boldly, not fearing wave ridges and cold water. Even if a wave covers you, you have to strain all your muscles and try to conquer it.