Blog: Repetition in Art

Christine Alfery

Posted on October 07 2017

Blog: Repetition in Art

Featured image: Constellations


Beauty cannot be repeated. The aesthetic cannot be repeated. The wind is never the same, nor is the rain. We can think by classifying events, like wind, rain we repeat this the words wind and rain. We communicate this way. We all understand what wind and rain are. The same can be true for what objects that are called/classified as “art” and and through this process one begins to understand what art is or isn’t. Classifications that are generalities, like the concepts of wind and rain and art – they are repeated, but they do not fully define wind, rain or art – they are not like taxonomies which identify difference, discontinuities, change. Taxonomies when they are repeated include all differences, all discontinuities, all change taxonomies follow life as elements that define change. Life is one perpetual motion. The elements that create an event like art, like life must include perpetual motion, thus making them unique, original and always one of a kind.

When the definition of a concept becomes stagnant, and is repeated over and over again such as “art” today the concept becomes stagnant. For example, art can be anything and everything. The concept of “artist” rests on the notion that if you call yourself an artist then you are an artist. This repetition is literally killing the concept of art. Originally it was meant to identify art as unique, one of a kind, original. But because it has become common through repetition that definition needs to be updated like a taxonomy would be updated.

To emphasize the importance of updating a concept I will use digital art as it is being presented in the art arena today. The discussion surrounding digital art focuses on how the artists hand in the work and the introduction of a new media into the art taxonomy. The discussion of new media being introduced into the art taxonomy happened over 50 years ago. It has been covered. The artist's hand in a work of art varies, done by hand, done by machine, that discussion also happened 50 years ago.

The issue that should be discussed in digital art and whether it is art or not is the concept of repetition. If art is just a series of repeated patterns and forms the artist is either critiquing the concept of art or the artist is making a statement of where we are today with the concept of art. Either answer puts the concept of “art’ in a very sad, irrelevant place.

Why? Because it has lost its motion, its individuality, its uniqueness. It creates a concept of “art” that is anything and everything. It creates a concept of “artist” as anyone can be one. There is more to the concept of “art” and “artist.” If there wasn’t more to these concepts then why would so many want to create art and be an artist and try but never cut the mustard? What is it that art is today? I do know that it is not repetition. Why? Repetition helps to make a composition, and compositions are important in art, repetition is not art, it is design. Design is not art.


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