Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ernst Kris said, “Great works are great because they are ambiguous.”





Photographer Barbara Crane was born in 1928 in Chicago.She tried to look for a new visual stimulus,which is a fusion of content and form.All of images are mysterious, indirect but interesting.She recorded a special moment in time, while all of images are standing for an attitude in that period.It is mentioned that these photos are ambiguous.  Incomplete shots bring more space for audience’s own imagination.

The relationship between representation and ambiguity

This article discussed about what is representation in art. What is representational art? Author thinks that ‘representational art ‘ is easily accepted by viewers. It seems like everything is almost physical and visible. Author states that representational art better than abstract or conceptual art, because representational art is more “viewer- friendly”. In my point of view, I do not agree with it. I think that we cannot represent something completely  in art. In some extent, it means that the deviation is existed in representational art. By contrast, abstract, conceptual, indirect and illusive ways in art are more interesting. Otherwise, I saw a very useful comment relates to representation in art, which by Alan Mairson. He mentioned that photographs are often ambiguous. Without someone to spell out exactly what you’re seeing, images are Rorschach blots (10 people, 10 stories). I agree with it.

On the other side, below is another article of representation.

“Images are not a representation of reality”

Author states that images don’t really represent “reality” anyway.

Here is quotation from this article:

‘And this, from the Wired interview:

I’m not suggesting that a photograph cannot be trustworthy. But it isn’t trustworthy simply because it’s a picture. It is trustworthy if someone we trust made it.

You’re interviewing me right now, you’re taking notes and taping the conversation, and at the end you will sit down and edit. You won’t be able to put in everything we talked about: you’ll highlight some things over others. Somebody reading your piece in a critical sense will understand that your value judgments shape it. That’s perfectly legitimate. Turn it around: let me take a portrait of you, and suddenly people say, That’s the way he was.

We don’t trust words because they’re words, but we trust pictures because they’re pictures. That’s crazy. It’s our responsibility to investigate the truth, to approach images with care and caution.’

In fact, when you present art works, you can choose an indirect way but it is still authentic. Sometimes, indirect way is more powerful than a direct way. The indirect approach has a stronger sense of recording, which could be different forms. Such as an integrated artwork is mixed by many fragments,  a metaphor, an abstract pattern, an ambiguous image and a comprehensive video. All of these are related to the characteristic of ambiguity. That is why ambiguity plays a very important role in art.

Montage of Attractions

Eisenstein’s first film, the revolutionary “Strike,” was produced in 1924, following the publishing of his first article on theories of editing in the review Lef, edited by the great poet, Mayakovsky. He proposed a new editing form, the “montage of attractions” — in which arbitrarily chosen images, independent from the action, would be presented not in chronological sequence but in whatever way would create the maximum psychological impact.

Eisenstein directing
Eisenstein directing actor Boris Zakhava
as Gerasim in the film “Bezhin Meadow”
Thus, the filmmaker should aim to establish in the consciousness of the spectators the elements that would lead them to the idea he wants to communicate. He should attempt to place them in the spiritual state or the psychological situation that would give birth to that idea. He theorized that cinema was a synthesis of art and science. These principles guided Eisenstein’s entire career, and had a major impact on filmmakers to this day for its stark contrast to “American-style” narrative montage.

These are very useful resources.

B3A3D195-9D0D-48C8-934C-1DC19C163B0B Philip-Lorca diCorcia is highly influential photographer. He created a series of photographs are concerned with reality, desire and fantasy.These photos record real people n a twilight zone between reality and fiction.  This kind of twilight zone has become an ambiguous form which artists prefer. We love gray zone, isn't? It might mean that ambiguity in contemporary art has become one of a very popular medium.In his photographs, you can indistinctly feel some stories are happened in the street at any moment, which makes a subtle feeling for the viewer. Additionally, each photograph charming and attractive, which also can attract audience's curiosity.That is the reason why I like his work so much.