Every system has its own rules, laws, schemes and connections. Without certain rules there would be no systematic approaches in science, politics, culture and art. The moving force of science is data collection, research and experiments. Politics is pushed forward by politicians and sometimes people or nations, culture is influenced directly by people, their tastes, knowledge, education, and memory.
What is art moved forward by?
In the heading of this article, I named plagiarism as the moving force of art development. But do you agree with that? Do you agree that the act of stealing someone’s work leads to a new work of art or better work of art? Do you really think that an artistic fraud leads to something extraordinarily good and perfect?
I would not be fighting for that idea either, but I am pretty sure that plagiarism has a positive influence on art development, even though it is treated negatively by our world and culture.
Without a doubt, as an artist I would be mortally offended if I found out that someone in the country where I live or somewhere across the ocean took my work, copied it and presented it as their own masterpiece. But, as a true artist, I would be extremely gladdened by that fact. You must wonder what I mean by this.
If you had enough time to read the semi-biographic novels and short stories or essays of famous authors, if you read enough novels about the famous artists, if you had read the diaries and notes of the painters like Van Gogh, you would know the answer for sure. Every artist – a poet, a dramatist, a painter, a sculptor, a composer – as the true bearer of the depths of art and primeval artistic instincts, cares about the only single thing.
Artists’ sincerest aim and goal is to objectivise their artistic instincts, desires and urges, to implement them into writing, musical sets, sculptures, buildings, and paintings – to ease the artistic pain and strong desire to create.
They create one artwork, they feel better, free, independent of the artistic muse locked inside them. Several hours, days, weeks or months later the muse becomes strong again, the willingness and necessity to create grows and at a certain moment becomes irresistible. And then the new work of art is presented to the world. Some artists managed to make a success out of their inner artistic muses, some managed to cooperate with them and live more or less happily, others fought their whole life with muses’ desires and the expectations of society. At the same time there might be talented people who do not have the artistic urge and have never met the muse of the arts. They would be able to trace the general tendency, copy from this or that artist and present a commercially successful piece – artworks that cost money but hardly have any soul.
So, returning to the question – why should I be happy if my work is stolen by another artist? If money does not matter for me and the only thing I care is fighting my urge for artistic expression, I would be happy to know that one person saw/ read/ listened to my work. It means I have one reader/ listener/ observer, and that means my muses reached their final destination – I passed my vision of the world to another person, and it actually does not matter if they accept it.
If someone steals my work – whether it is conscious or subconscious plagiarism – I will have a feeling that my vision was very good or prospective – another person will present it and share it, and my artistic vision of the world will face even more people and, most likely, spread further in forms of adaptations, copies, or transformations.
I cannot but mention the fact that all artists choose their artistic path out of the urge for expression, and they all hope that their works will find thankful customers and provide the artists with roofs and food.
- a lack of imagination
- the desire to recreate old plots in modern contexts
- the willingness to create a perfect version of a not-very-perfect artwork of other generations
- introduction of new arts
- the intention to fill in the artistic gaps
- and the permanent strong separation-integration ties between all the arts
commercialisation of arts stimulates copying and adaptation – that is, plagiarism – which in its own turn pushes all the arts further on.
Plagiarism stimulates many processes in the arts, and at least it provides a variety of forms and styles, facilitates changes and faster spreading of some ideas. We cannot hide from it and say that it is just an artistic fraud, we should accept the fact that it has always been like that. The rules of art have changed drastically (to compare with the Antiquity epoch), but the results are the same.
One artist steals from another, and this theft creates even more adaptation by stimulation of copies to the plagiaristic copy or the original work of art, which altogether pushes the arts further in their mutual development.