What does artistic intent look like?

It’s possible that you are one of the many people who believe that intention is not important when judging the meaning in a work of art. You might believe that it is in fact you, the audience, who has control over the meaning of the work and that regardless of what the artist has attempted to convey, ultimately you will decode the meaning. If this is your viewpoint, then you are in direct opposition to The Intentist art movement, founded by Vittorio Pelosi, which aims to robustly reassert the primacy of the artist’s intentions in the production of meaning in a work.

Big Breakfast by Luciano Pelosi

In the field of philosophy and academia the debate is by no means new, drawing from certain postmodern theorists like Michel Foucault who wrote about the issue in the 60s. What is interesting about the Intentists however, is that they are themselves artists asserting the importance of intention through their own art works; this is a practical, not theoretical, movement.

In conjunction with their new documentary about the movement The Call of Intent, this controversial movement is holding an exhibition in London between November 9 and 10th. The Intentists are known to make a noise about their beliefs and have found themselves forcibly removed from the Tate Modern site during a protest. But they are also widely supported in academic circles.

Whether you agree with them or not, this exhibition is an ideal opportunity to see what intent really looks like.

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