The purpose of art

“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenalin but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”​ ​

— Glenn Gould

Thanks, Tim, for this idea to ponder.

In today’s culture of instant gratification and relentless productivity, the idea that art’s purpose lies in fostering lifelong wonder and serenity is more relevant than ever. Art provides a necessary counterbalance, urging us to slow down, introspect, and value sustained growth over fleeting success. Let’s emphasize depth and patience in a society that often prioritizes speed and superficiality, a critical element in preserving our capacity for deep appreciation and understanding.

Olafur Eliasson: Verklighetsmaskiner / Reality machines. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 3.10 2015 – 17.1 2016. Installationsbild / Installation view, Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work), 2011, Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2015. © 2011 Olafur Eliasson. Foto / Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic-Danish artist known for his large-scale installation art and projects in public space, Eliasson’s work often invites the viewer to engage with the artwork over time and interact with it, provoking reflection on perception, the environment, and the human experience.

The exhibit, “Verklighetsmaskiner” (Reality Machines), included an array of installations that invited visitors to interact and engage with the artwork in novel and experiential ways. By using light, water, mirrors, and natural elements, Eliasson created environments that challenged traditional perspectives and provoked a deep sense of reflection about the nature of perception and reality.

His installations often invite the viewer to be a co-creator in the experience, blurring the lines between the observer and the observed. As such, the exhibition embodies the notion of art as a lifelong process of cultivating a state of wonder and serenity, a concept that stands in stark contrast to the culture of instant gratification prevalent today.

Olafur Eliasson: Verklighetsmaskiner (Reality machines), 2015 from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.

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