Or does art in that way seeks to connect or confront two worlds, the one we think we know and the one we may dream of - be it sweet dreams or nightmares? Will the spectator in this way be stimulated to reflect on his own known world and existence? Be inspired or moved, be thrilled or shocked? Or at least question it……. In this manner, art may create more layers in our minds and hearts.
Yes, says good old Marcuse, that used to be art’s main role. But in his opinion art has ceased to function like that: the world has become one-dimensional. Art has become too commercialized, is mainly used to sell goods or services. Or it is captured by the state, serving some kind of political aim. Or absorbed by technological developments. So in the absence of some kind of revolutionary or transformative type of art, or art that at least may make you think or reflect, the window to other worlds remains closed. We are left behind with the illusion that there is no other world than the one we live in….
I like the metaphor 'art as a window to another world', but Marcuse’s position seems exaggerated. I do agree that commerce, technology and state policy may go to the detriment of art. However, let us not over-value the influence of such external conditions. There is still authentic l'art-pour-l'art', highly original, innovative, making other worlds visible, at least, as long as the spectator has sufficient sensitivity and attention. I am referring to the semi-figurative or abstract work of Pablo Picasso or Cobra artists and many others, the surrealistic work of Joan Miro or Dutch artists as Melle or Hans Kanters. But even semi-realistic or realistic work may open windows to another world.