We dream in images. The realm of the dream is the realm of the story.
Quite paradoxically, the more real or tangible our dreams are, the more wonderful and magical they seem to us. Strange as they are, we seek to unlock their meaning, their reason and their source. Dream dictionaries are a dime-a-dozen, offering translations that may or may not be relevant to the individual. Similarly, when viewing art, we seek the meanings behind what we're looking at. What has the artist (or others) said about her work? What was the thought process?
That some work needs additional commentary is really an apology of sorts for the presumed weakness of ones' chosen medium. This weakness is that of its own lack of communicative ability, the dialogue brought in to compensate.
The strength of any medium resides in its inherent ability to speak for itself, to tell us stories, to bring diverse audiences together with the same thread of understanding. Even the title should not be too literal, since any preemptive translation of the work removes the opportunity for individual interpretation. The artist is committing a crime if the audience is robbed of this. Just as a joke loses its punch if it needs additional explanation, so too will art. The artist must remain mute, allow his work to tell the story and allow the audience to determine its significance.
Edgar Degas said, "Literature explains art without understanding it, art understands literature without explaining it." Rock on, Degas.
David Caesar May, 2011