Thursday, November 29, 2012

What is the Cost of Art? (The Red Shoes, 1948)

82. The Red Shoes (1948)  

“When we first met you asked me a question to which I gave a stupid answer: You asked me whether I wanted to live and I said ‘yes’.   Actually, I want much, much more.  I want to create, to make something big out of something little…”

Vickie doesn’t want to just live, she wants to dance remarkably, memorably.  She wants the glory of being an artist.  We might give many definitions of “art” and certainly a two year old can create art without much effort or thought.  But when we speak of capital “A” Art, art as an ideal, then it becomes difficult.  Such art is not content with imitating reality, or outlining reality—such art must be bigger than reality itself. 

Just as the ballet in the Red Shoes has color more vibrant than reality can show and express emotion more poignant than reality can express, so Art is huge, requiring a canvas so large that no one can drink it in at a single glance.  Art requires not only talent and discipline but a vision that is larger than life.

Upon such a canvas nothing less than one’s life’s blood can be spilled.  To be bigger than life, Art requires life.  No one can touch the depth of a soul without placing one’s whole soul within it.  The cost, the worth of Art cannot be measured by materials, time and effort.  For who can place a cost on one’s soul?  What is a human life worth?  Art demands life, and so it is worth life.

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