Evocation of Art

‘Anti-mimesis is a philosophical position that holds the direct opposite of mimesis. Its most notable proponent is Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”. In the essay, written as a Platonic dialogue, Wilde holds that anti-mimesis “results not merely from Life’s imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realise that energy.”.

What is found in life and nature is not what is really there, but is that which artists have taught people to find there, through art. As in an example posited by Wilde, although there has been fog in London for centuries, one notices the beauty and wonder of the fog because “poets and painters have taught the loveliness of such effects…They did not exist till Art had invented them.” ‘                                 Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_imitating_art

 

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Nature creates art in the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver

I don’t agree with Mr Wilde; surely the fact that artists painted the fog is because they saw its beauty in life, and thus art imitated life in this case (chicken vs egg). But I concede that art provides us ways of seeing and appreciating life from a number of different perspectives which we may not otherwise notice.

Shanghai

Tonight

I’m in a city of 14.50 million

(give or take a few, including me)

souls. I know no-one

here. I’m a nano-human, a speck

in the smog. I make myself big

riding the subways with no-one

with light-coloured hair. No-one notices

the gweilo; the ghost-person, I think,

until I step into the deluge at Shanghai

Library, and a dark-haired

girl steps in time beside me,  her umbrella

banishing the rain, her words, my ghostliness

“Where are you going?

Can I take you there?”

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