How Do You Separate The Artist From The Person?

No, seriously, how do you separate the artist from the person? I am genuinely asking you. Because I can’t or I don’t know how to do it.

What am I blabbing about?

Take Picasso, for example. They say his paintings are amazing. I might be true, although sometimes I am failing to tell the amazingness from the scribbles. That aside, he is more or less universally known as a genius artist, someone whose work definitely left a mark. Right. You might also know that he was a misogynistic asshole, who treated women like his possessions, used women really. Right. So, looking at this in a very broad picture, how can you appreciate what Picasso has done for the artistic world and disregard the fact that he was a dubious human being?

Why am I asking this?

Because art speaks to the human soul and is characterized by emotions. The same soul and emotions that stop you from objectifying women. So, how can you think that objectifying women is bad but appreciate Picasso? The line between the two is, in my opinion, very volatile.

This is not actually about Picasso. This is about Sergei Polunin.

Last year I was writing this and this posts about Sergei Polunin. I had seen Dancer, the documentary made after his life, and I had seen him in Satori. I was in awe. As with Greta Van Fleet, Alin was telling you about in a previous post, raw talent seemed to burst of this serious quiet person. He seemed so small and his dancing seemed so terribly overwhelming. I had the feeling I knew him and I understood his protest through music. It was sublime.

A few days ago, Sergei posted on Instagram a picture and he declared his admiration for Putin, the Russian president. All internet was in rage. Disappointment all around. I quietly scrolled down, ignoring it. “Who am I to judge?!”, I said to myself, focusing on his talent and finding excuses for the mind that outlets it.

Yesterday more of it followed. He revealed a tattoo on his chest with Putin’s face.

Following this, I have started to reconsider my appreciation for him.

Why? Because taking refuge in this dissociation of the artist from the human being that everybody seems to agree it’s the right thing to do, means I am also silently standing behind Putin’s oppressive politics. If you ask me, this is slightly bigger than Picasso’s treatment of women. Putin is a modern dictator.

While I understand the logic of dissociation, I cannot agree with it. Not here. And I generally think it’s not a very good idea, because, as stated before, both artist and human are built around sensibility, something that is the core of a person.

Now, it is really up to you how you approach these things. Most people don’t even bother to form an opinion. Maybe that is right. One should spend energy however they think it’s fit. But, under no circumstance, if you think something is weird, shut up about it or ignore it. Go, read, ask around, inform yourself until your brain is fed and feels comfortable with the amount of knowledge it has.

November 22, 2018
Rock Is Not Dead. Greta Van Fleet.
December 2, 2018
Is There Art Without Misery?