When I first saw Andreas Banderas’s art, I probably had the same reaction as you: “This is art?” Harsh words, I realize, but not unfounded. Andreas Banderas’s was successful in, for lack of a better term, pissing me off (I know, I know, I could have used “angered me,” but “anger” does even begin to breach the emotion that overcame me). I wanted to write an editorial piece about why his work is not art. Then, I realized that my response is what Banderas’s art elicits from its viewers. It is an open invitation to refute its existence as art. It is art for every reason that it is not art.
Formalist thinking, specifically pertaining to Abstract Expressionism, can shed light on our reaction as viewers. Avant-garde extraordinaire Wassily Kandinsky illuminates viewer response by noting that “Color is the key. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many chords. The artist is the hand that, by touching this or that key, sets the soul vibrating automatically.” This vibration, as Kandinsky terms it, serves its own purpose, whether for good or for bad. As such, reactionary judgments on the part of the viewer are merely part of the artists’ expression. To quote fellow abstractionist, Jackson Pollock, “The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern (this includes Abstract Expressionism) art.”
I won’t attempt to help you discover these deeper meanings. To do so, I feel, would be to usurp Banderas’s place as the artist. Instead, I’ll just ask you to look at it: look just long enough for the strangeness to wear off. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
By Scott Warfe