Slow down, you look too fast - Slow Art Day 10 April, 2021

Posted by Fiona Cable on

First there was slow food, then slow journalism and now it's the turn of slow art…

Take a break from e-mails, traffic, and all of life’s distractions to participate in Slow Art Day, the international event created to encourage museumgoers to slow down and discover great art. Enjoy this mindfulness movement.

The more you look the more you see. If you give paintings the time you will see things that are secret, that can intrigue and raise questions about how the painting was made and what the artist was thinking.

Visit the gallery to get the really intense experience. Face to face the textures and colours reveal nuances and layers only viewable up close. By slowing down, it helps us to see art in a new way that energises rather than demoralises, it will expand your mind.

The average museum visitor spends less than twenty seconds looking at any given work of art. Now in its eleventh year, Slow Art Day asks museum and gallery visitors around the world to take a pause and spend more time engaging with art. Join us in the gallery or try Slow Art Day from home. 

"My wife kept dragging me to museums, I didn’t know how to look at art. Like most people, I would walk by quickly,” says Terry, founder of Slow Art Day. “People usually go to a museum, see as much as they can, get exhausted, and don’t return," Terry says. "Slow Art Day energizes people."

How can we look at a single work for five to ten minutes? Get close, get far away, squint. Focus on your response to the work – is it emotional? sensory? analytical? – it works well to avoid focussing on your like or dislike of a work. If you don’t ‘get it’, ask yourself why that might be. What does get your attention?

At the National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Michelle Fracaro, the museum’s project officer discovered that “the slow art experience is surprisingly challenging—more challenging than you think!”

Here’s how it works: Visitors come to the gallery and examine several artworks for five to ten minutes each. There are opportunities to then sit down to discuss their impressions or contemplate the work on their own, writing or drawing their own response. The artist, Robyn Gibson, will be in the gallery from 10am – 3pm. You are invited to discuss the work with her. This often reveals more layers and meaning - other ways to connect, understand and enjoy the pieces. We will have some prompt sheets available too.

“It was strange and confusing at first, of slow art viewing. But after I got used to it, I started enjoying it and thinking about the work, the artists, and the purpose of the piece. And I realized that my usual behaviour is to quickly jump from work to work in a museum, just to tick them off on my invisible list.” - Shakhruz Ashirov

Come in and enjoy SLOW looking, Slow Art Day on Saturday 10 April! 10am – 3pm. Refreshments available.

Click here to view more of Robyn Gibson's work. 

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