Wednesday, March 24, 2010

let the work speak its own praise ...


I don't know about anybody else, but I'd like to think that the work I do makes a difference ... or, at the very least, is noticed by somebody.

I guess that's why the inscription on an ancient, ornate desk displayed in the South Australian Art Gallery wouldn't leave me alone.

"LET THE WORK SPEAK IT'S OWN PRAISE"

I didn't have the presence of mind to read up on the info published next to it (duh!) ... but as I walked away numerous questions emerged in my over-active and under-utilised brain ... Who made the desk? Who sat at it? How did it arrive to be where it is? What is the work? What is the alternative to the instruction? Who hears the praise? Who receives it? ...

The simple statement cuts to the heart of my propensity to endlessly justify and shamelessly promote the work I do ... and challenges me to allow the work I do to 'just be' ... and to trust that the outcome of that work will, in the right time and in the right way, reveal the true value of the workmanship.

It also helps me consider the work that I am, and my role in "speaking praise" ... and, whether I'm placed in a public gallery or in a small dimly-lit cubicle, my Designer's workmanship would resound with a clarity that can't be ignored.

2 comments:

Jeffrey Kemp said...

That's a great discovery and challenge!

Certainly the inscription calls us to let our work speak for itself, rather than attempt to inflate its worth or quality with proud boasting.

Do you think there are legitimate cases where we should draw other people's attention to the "work of our hands"?

trav johnson said...

Jeff! ... good question - it has implications over how comfortable we are about our promotion and marketing of what we're doing ...

what struck me about the desk was the irony of where it was ... it wasn't in a museum, but a gallery - was the piece designed to be for show in a gallery? ... it's possible there was intention for where it was to be placed when it was designed ...

that helps me think about the answer to your question ... I reckon it IS possible for us to consider (and even be strategic about) the "placement" of our work and how it will be used when we piece it together - without the compulsion for us "inflate it's worth" as you say ...

promotion then, doesn't need to be an attempt to try and pump up the praise our work is receiving ... it may simply be the placement of the work before those who might find it enjoyable or useful ...

probably a heart thing really :)