Dr. Ullrich Hartung | KATRIN SÜSS – CIRCLES
There is an old saying among art historians: “You only know what you see”, often juxtaposed by its antithesis: “You only see what you know” Apart from the question whether women see different things or certain things differently than men – the first thesis demands that one gets involved with an artwork’s shape, its structure, its composition, its entire appearance, only by doing so can it be understood, can the artist’s intentions be truly comprehended.
The necessity for this is obvious, for if an object’s appearance is seen merely as a concealment of its true entity, the denial of the inner correlation between the two results in the refusal of understanding the work. This tells us more about the viewer than about the artwork itself: it is an attitude towards the work, indeed an irrational one that stems from being afraid of thinking.
On the other hand, a knowledge that has been acquired through having seen other works, an awareness of styles, beliefs, and the physical image of an era can very well further the perception of artwork. Insofar, the second thesis proves a point as well: the analysis of what is right in front of our eyes and the research of the reasons and conditions concerning its genesis can enlighten each other.