The question concerning the borders between art and simple entertainment is common, while its answer seems almost impossible. When the quality of the latter reaches high levels, one cannot help but wonder about the reason which justifies the question, excluding academic perversion as a cause.
Indeed, exercises on terminology and definitions, when conducted, of course, without dogmatic intensions and inflexibility, contribute to the understanding of the essence of things, particularly in areas like the one of art where mystery and subtraction dominate. In fact, it is common for things to borrow their essence from their names. Should we, therefore, define art as anything realized with knowledge of the rules, respect to the tradition, discipline to the execution, elegance as a companion, and perfection as a goal, then plenty are the human activities that will justifiably claim this definition. And all that remains to be found is a new, more precise and comprehensive term that will map a stricter definition of art as we mean it. Of course, one should always know and accept that the areas neighboring the two sides of the boundaries are, and should be, indistinct, indefinite, and ambiguous.
The attempts to define this stricter artistic area and distinguish it from simple entertainment have been many. And all of them, due to their very intension, are absolutely justifiable and right. Entertainment, for instance, is based on adjectives, whereas art is based on nouns. The former is necessarily “useful” and “usable”, since it serves enjoyment, while the latter-when not realized “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (for the great glory of God)- still does not serve anything but itself, as it does not do anything else but seek its own excitement. Entertainment (and its creator) exists because its recipients exist, while art stems from its creator and seeks its recipients. Entertainment is limited to the external appearance of things, even when it seems to dream. Art identifies the connection between the outer and the inner world, with the use of implication and metaphor, which render a dream as reality and reality as fantasy.
Nevertheless, regardless of all the aforementioned, it is not illogical for one to add a number of discriminations on behalf of the recipient; spectator, auditor, reader. The recipient enjoys entertainment passively and exhausts his interest in it for as long as it lasts. But when confronting a work of art, the recipient has to activate his energetic participation and exceed the duration of the work, since his spirit and soul will continue to be inhabited by it. The entertained recipient enjoys carefree allowing only one part of himself to participate in the process, while the recipient of art is deeply touched and concerned; more specifically, art demands the presence of a creative and completely unoccupied recipient, and, more importantly, art itself contributes to their development. As a result, when the artistic excitement and spiritual enjoyment climax, the creative recipient is rewarded with a strange feeling: he himself feels more worthy and human than he normally thinks he is. And perhaps this is the most significant achievement of artistic creation.
Platon Rivelliswas born in Athens, Greece in 1945. He studied Law in Athens (1963-1968), Political Sciences in Paris (1968-1970) and Photography in the USA (1983). He worked as a lawyer in Athens for twelve years (1971-1983). He has been teaching Photography since 1981 in various venues. He has organised the model departments of Photography of the “Laiki Epimorphosi” (Ministry of Education – Adult Educational Programmmes) and taught its instructors. He has edited a series of programmes on Photography shown on Greek National Television; he also edited many photographic books and curated many exhibitions. He has delivered numerous seminars and lectures on photography in Athens, Cyprus and elsewhere. He has exhibited his work in both solo and group exhibitions. His articles have been published in numerous Greek newspapers and magazines. He is the Director of the “Photohoros” publications. He founded in 1988 the “Photography Circle” society, of which he is the President. He is the author of several books – theoretical publications and albums with photographs.