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Recipient of art

"(...)I was amazed by it. I think it’s good to see how the structure of art recipients works and how can be divided. Maybe it’s worth rethinking to keep art as an self-expression, not the fast food product or the answer to market needs(...) "



It’s been a long time since I‘ve got in my hands such an interesting points of view written on 438 pages. The book “Obywatel kultury” ( in straight translation “The citizen of culture”) is a set of articles, essays and poems written by Vaclav Havel– writer, playwright, statesman, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first of Czech Republic. It really surprised me because of its’ accurate beliefs and strong opinions in the context of politics, culture, and society.


I’ll focus only on one chapter named “Views on the half – intelligence” which is the article published in magazine “Tvar“ in 1964. Havel formed a definition of a half – intelligent person as an recipient of culture who, in general, doesn’t analyze or interpretate works of art. The point of this term is to expose social importance of this individual. Maybe it’s a little controversial to present such a posture as an real concept and giving it name that suggests a low education level, but in fact it has nothing in common with someone s’ extension of knowledge.




“(…) so then, half – intelligence should be perceived not on the extension of absorbed values, but on the way of absorbing it(…)”


This social role has a permanent hunger of gaining and collecting experiences connected with art, but blindly and without awareness of selecting it. It shows how converted could be work of art by opinions, interpretations or in many cases it just makes up cultural – consumeristic power of “trends”. Yes, it’s sad to call it trend not a current of art.


“The modern art wasn’t modern because it decided to be like this, but only because it has been bestowed upon modern way of thinking. In any case art arises not to be more art values in life, but because there are still people who want to say something about world (…)”

- so they do this in the way that stucks in mind and discovers sensibility in every human.


Things there will be generalized, but how many times you meet art patron or other recipient of culture that has big desire to experience work of art, to read every book of known writer, to visit worth knowing private views, to buy ticket on the best performances…. - cultural – consumeristic power, culture – making. The fact that half – intelligent is making work of art flat, trend, divest its’ uniqueness may bother, but it’s also a mean of spreading culture without the distortion by personal interpretation, so this phenomenon isn’t damaging for the recipient’s sensibility and ability to absorb art.


Vaclav Havel was the first one who described this issue, named it and presented as an existing social form, that’s why I was amazed by it. I think it’s good to see how the structure of art recipients works and how can be divided. Maybe it’s worth rethinking to keep art as an self-expression not the fast food product or the answer to market needs.

I highly recommend Vaclav Havels’ works and to critically look at some social aspects of art and conversely artistic aspects of society.

“ (…) everybody somehow experiment, shatter illusions, deny convenants.”

O.K.



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