The knowledge about the artist and the way the pieces are taken
A real work of art lives its own life and can fight for itself, but in many cases (especially in modern art) this doesn`t happen. Maybe it`s because the artist`s biography (what influenced him, what his assumptions were, the conditions in which he created) is an unseparable part of the work of art.
One of the most controversial works of the twentieth century is a Kazimierz Malewicz`s painting Black square in a white background. Most people are resentful of its simpleness, they say: "The artist really didn't make much effort" or "I can do that as well!". Others try to find connections to it with the real world, claiming that the painting represents space or the black hole. The variety in interpretations is indeed interesting, they are however so far from the artist's intentions that it is worth finding out what he really wanted to show. Kazimierz Malewicz wrote in his work Suprematism (1922-27) the following about Black square in a white background:
"What I have shown wasn`t an »empty square«, but a feeling of aimlessness.
The black square in a white background was the first direct form of expressing aimlessness. The square = feeling, white background = »nothing« except for that feeling". 
Black square in a white background
1913 - 1915
The intentions of the artist shouldn`t be the only way to how a painting is interpreted, but they can deepen its receptance and enrich our knowledge about him. It isn`t until our own feelings about an art work combine with the knowledge about the artist that we really understand the piece and are able to evaluate it. Yet if you think like Henri Matisse that "A work of art has to speak for itself (...)"  then you have the full right to thinks so.
Well, is the knowledge about an artist indispensable for the full understanding of a work of art? Is it really indispensible or just helpful? Or does it perhaps interfere with the viewer's personal impressions?
Please share your own opinion about this with us. Write to us about an art work, an atrist and tell us about your feelings towards it, him. Did the things you knew about the artist help or hinder your contact with the piece?
WORK OF ART |
CONTENT AND THEME |
MEANS OF EXPRESSION |
ARTIST AND AUDIENCE |
CREATION PROCESS |
HOW TO UNDERSTAND A WORK OF ART 1998