Brain Food #545

Targets as an act of collaboration

Thoughts of the day

Looking at the everyday signs to find meaning is a common practice among thinkers and artists. That is also why still life is one of the most prominent types of painting; it brings the act of observation to the foreground, reminding us how much there is to see, if we only look.

American artist Jasper Johns was preoccupied with targets, a timeless symbol of achievement, of focus, of aspiration. But, Johns was making a different point with his art.

In the work below, the colourless circles and watercolour suggest that a target can be ‘created’ in any way we like. Targets can change. Someone’s target can be another’s miss. But, perhaps the most important element of the work is the ‘AND’ that lies between two horizontal lines. One contains the name of the artist; the other is blank, implying that whoever completes the target by colouring it in, can write their name next to Johns’, making the final work an act of collaboration.

Whatever targets we set, we should not try to aim for them alone.


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