There are artists who create Conceptual Art and photographers who insist that photographs are about Storytelling. To me art is about communicating at other than a conceptual level.
We grow up steeped in the societal convention establishing the primacy of intellect and reason as the best approach to creating a life worth living. Reason coupled with pragmatism is indeed a useful skill for navigating life’s many challenges.
But I doubt our lives are largely shaped by choices we make deliberately using reason as basis. There are more faculties in the mind of a man or woman that seem to me more potent, as potent as other people’s ideas of God.
Baudelaire famously wrote: “In the spiritual life of the initiators a crisis inevitably arises, when they desire to rationalize their art, to discover those obscure laws by virtue of which they have produced, and to draw from this study a series of precepts of which the divine end is infallibility in poetic production… it is impossible that a poet does not harbor a critic.”
Art is the divine end we initiators strive to unerringly produce. I don’t know about infallibility but my tiny experience of living spills into my understanding of art. The most powerful forces that our lives unleash have their founts elsewhere, our minds or souls only a conduit for their expression.
There are plenty of ways we communicate with others but art for me is one way the communication occurs despite reasonableness and analysis. In this it mirrors the events that enter our lives and that as artist theorists we attempt to divine. Art is at its best a gateway into our non-conceptual being, the core from which stories arise, which reason so steadfastly imitates but finally accepts is a realm beyond its reach.
Art is language of the gods if by gods we mean the engine of creativity that provides not only the stuff of our worlds but the very foundation of being, the mysterious that is at once the most intimate reading of our hearts and its most ineffable expression. It is communicating without a subject.