A Badge of Friendship have sent us some great articles to put up this week, but now we must draw them to a close with the thoughts of Ex Libras' frontman, Amit Sharma. 1.CONCEPTUAL ART was initially something alien to me, but the more I learned about it the more it seemed to be an umbrella under which all art could theoretically fall (apart from improv art – if there is such a thing, and even then consciously deciding to do improv could in itself, be a conceptual act). If a piece of work is classified as conceptual art then the idea / concept has greater importance than its aesthetic. Artists like Bruce Nauman, Gilbert & George, Marcel Duchamp, Sophie Calle and Martin Creed introduced and defined for me what conceptual art could be, given skill. Image and video hosting by TinyPic Please note; People will remain divided by conceptual art and my own view doesn’t mean that I like all conceptual pieces, but good conceptual art with an interesting concept and well-executed communication will always be something of worth to me. Elements of John Cage’s work prove to me how important a concept can be and how that concept can be beautiful and retain a core of purity, and through works by Cage, Nauman, and even Erik Satie (pianist) I was able to gain some form of perspective relative to my own artistic experiments. I matured creatively because I became more considered. Art went from something fun and throwaway to something fun and serious. 2. It was through conceptual art that I found Minimalism. With aesthetic often being a secondary consideration, the way that these pieces were often presented seemed practically minimalist. It makes sense that in order for a concept to be a focus, aesthetic should be played down; in essence, this is minimalism – where work is stripped to its basic. I liked that idea. Minimalism rebelled against the excessive nature of abstract and expressionism and it spoke to me in a very human way, of ideals and ethics and beauty through theory. It reminded me of an Einstein quote, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction”. Yet I found that with the label of minimalism came the notion that an artist’s work was devoid of emotion. I can understand why. It is hard for work to be joyous and filled with life whilst following ‘rules’ for minimalism. But practitioners of minimalism, like those of conceptual art, simply try to find a new way to communicate. I really liked that idea because I had had enough of excess in art. To quote Einstein again, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”. Image and video hosting by TinyPic Through minimalism I started to draw parallels between its ideals and ethics and the way I wanted to make music. We are all drawn to grand gestures and marvel at them, and rightly so, but sometimes the simplest things cause the greatest impact. I think minimalism was something that I was always ‘destined’ to find. To make every note count, to make sure that each melody was not overcomplicated, to make sure that each composition was stripped to its basic parts… these are all things worthy of my time and exploration. The ethos behind both of the above movements is where I find comfort. Perhaps where I find balance. In all my time studying art I felt lost for the majority of it. Eventually I moved into sonic arts/sound art but both of those movements informed pretty much every piece I’ve ever made, and even inform my input into Ex Libras. 3. So, why do I hate Art? First thing is first, as confusing as this may seem; there is no such thing as bad art (sort of). All art is individual in both creation and appreciation. There are things I consider good and other things I don’t particularly like, but that doesn’t make them good or bad, it is just my perspective. In a world full of individual perspectives, how odd is it to consider ones own perspective superior to another? With that in mind, art, for me, was always supposed to be something pure and full of expression, something that was created as a by-product to just being alive, made in order to expel creative fever; in no matter what form - abstract, surrealist, conceptual, traditional, expressionist, modernist, Dada, pop… but whilst walking around my degree show (Chelsea College), I saw the addition of price tags to graduate work(?!) and this is what drove me to finish with emotional deflation. I couldn’t fathom what I was in the middle of. Everything that I loved and stood for simply ceased to exist. Wherever there was beauty, money just made it ugly. Yet, before the price tags were attached, before the pictures were hung, before the sculptures were wheeled into place and the installations were installed, before the photographs were developed and before the paintbrush landed on the canvas, there was an artist, sitting in their studio, thinking about an idea. And that artist, I have to believe, set out to make something they deemed worth making and THAT is, in itself, pure. Just, somewhere along the line, I guess parts of its soul got chipped away. I understand that you need ego to take an idea through the creative stages into a final ‘piece’. It is instrumental in keeping your own motivation high. The trouble lies when the ego inflates, and I saw that happen too often. And when that happens the art suffers, and this seemed to go unnoticed. Blame commerce, free markets, perhaps even MTV. I really don’t know, but I do know this; Essentially, price is not an indicator of value. To tie up this meandering collection of dictionary sourced cuts and phrases, there is still much I need to explore, much I need to practice and much I need to learn. I don’t really ‘hate’ art. I don’t really ‘hate’ anything, but I have much distaste for the way we attribute value. Especially when it comes to things that are creative and individual. The nature of the world is defined by our collective perception of it. If we continue to attribute value through price we will continue to find the world filled with art and music that serves no other purpose other than to line wallets. And to me, this is the definition of BAD art and music. Something that will always be important to me and to Ex Libras is the idea that value is something that cannot be defined by anything material – a number, a position or a price. Our goal is to make work that will be able to stand alone, proudly alongside other works created for creation sake. If this means we dangle on the edge of the norm then so be it. Luckily we’ve found others dangling nearby, and we all agree on one thing - the view from here rules. Click here for a free download of 'Radar' from Ex Libras' album, Suite(s). Also available here is a free download of 'Teenage Eyes' from their acoustic EP, Cut(s).