27 December 2012


I suddenly wondered - when people say that an exhibition was inspiring, or that they're looking for inspiration, what do they actually mean?
But was it inspiration? (image from here)
The thesaurus gives several entries where 'inspiration' can be found - causation, influence, respiration, intuition, intelligence, imagination, diffuseness, inducement, contrivance, warm feeling, excitation, excitable state, revelation, piety.

To inspire, it suggests, is to cheer, give courage, or make pious.

Inspired relates to being intuitive, diffuse, forceful, induced, scriptural, revelational, pietistic -- and inspiring, to causal, influential, exciting.

What do we take from an inspiring exhibition, then? The artist's influence on us, perhaps ... a stirring of our imagination, that induces us to make our own work; it reveals something, gets us excited or gives us a warm feeling, cheers us up perhaps, or gives us courage to think about difficult things.

Or perhaps simply that we understand the artist, the work, the world, ourselves, a little better?

1 comment:

Olga Norris said...

Re your illustration: was it inspiration, or was it influence?

I think that inspiration can be several of the things you listed, or a combination of them. And I agree with that last sentence.

There are different kinds of inspiration: some quiet and thought-provoking (although the thinking can be quite exciting), and other inspiration generating instant scalp-tingling and finger-twitching - an urge to go to work on one's own art immediately.