A Platonic dialogue

Short story by Claire Pujol 


.......    Well, a work of art is...

    Apparently, we do not really know either. Let's think about it now together. The first word of the phrase is work . Does anybody have an idea about the definition of this word ?

    Well, I can say that everybody works. And some works are more difficult than others.

    It is true, I said. But give me an example so I can really understand what you mean.

    For instance, working with the hands is less difficult than working with the mind.

    Oh ! I see, I said. You are an engineer, aren't you ?

    Sure !

    That means that you work with your mind ?


    And working with the mind is less difficult than working with the hands ?

    Yes. That was my statement.

    So if it is less difficult, it means you could easily work with your hands ?

    I suppose so.

    And the painter works with his hands, doesn't he ?

    Well, true.

    So you could without any problem be a painter ?

    You are confusing me. I will be unable to be a painter. I do not have the technique it requires.

    Sure, I said. Let us rather have a look at the dictionary. A neutral definition will get everyone agree, without any confusion... Thank you. Let's see... Work : effort that you make to do something . Let's have also a look at art so that we can have a complete definition... I have it. Art : a human activity which comes to the creation of works. So, if I put together the two pieces of information, a work of art is an effort you make in order to create. But now again, we have another word to define. Creation : God created Universe out of nothing... Invention, work of imagination. So, if I understand, a work of art is a creation, i.e. a work which has never been done before since a creation is an invention. Now, we might be able to think of an answer for your question which was, I remind you : Do not you think the painting I bought is the best work of art you have ever seen ?

    Unfortunately, I think that now I can answer this question by myself...

    Maybe our friends did not manage to do it.

    Well, if I look at the painting which is there, I can see geometrical forms. Everybody knows them, they are no creation. Moreover, anybody can easily paint them, so it is not even a work. Consequently, this painting is not a work of art. But, as we are the only one to know it, I can still sell it and be rich !

    This is a good way of thinking dear friend, I said. I admire your optimism as much as your sense of humour.

    I definitely agree with your demonstration admirable friend, but still, another question remains. If a work of art is synonymous with creation, then no contemporary painting is a work of art, since they all imitate the one who coined the movement.... 



Other works by Claire Pujol 

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