Friday, June 27, 2008

The Art of Surprise

Here's an interesting article titled The Art of Surprise. He talks mostly about stories, since he is a film expert, but he does mention Vermeer. For the author, the art of surprise comes about when you have such complex characters that you can't pigeonhole them or say they are representing this or that. Other than Vermeer, is there any other visual artists of surprise? What would such a visual art look like? What could it look like?


Todd Camplin said...

Can you better define surprise for me so I can think about examples? How is it different from gimmicks? You should come over and we can look at some of my art books together. Maybe we can get find a few artists working in the same ideas.

Troy Camplin said...

This idea is more obvious in stories, where the characters surprise you with what they do or don't do. The surprise doesn't come out of an inconsistency in their character, but quite the opposite -- it is consistent with their characters, as we learn from the story. The characters are so complex, though, that we can be surprised at what they do. We can root for someone who is far, far less than perfect, and then be surprised at what he does at the end. It's harder to figure out what this could mean with a picture, though, I do admit.

Troy Camplin said...

In my dissertation, as I recall, there is a section where I talk about patterns and rhythms, and how we remember both things that are patterned and/or rhythmical and things that break patterns and rhythms. Isn't this a basis of an art of surprise? Having set patterns and/or rhythms which are broken? Again, this may be easier in anything which is sequential/in a time sequence. WIth this as a criteria, can anyone think of any visual art that would fit the idea of art of surprise?