Effective Communication of Visual Arts

High School ・Art ・MLA ・10 Sources

Art is a means of effective communication. Salient messages can still be expressed by a visual art piece even in the absence of words. Still life art usually has a theme which evidently, allows the spectator to draw out a relationship and appreciate the history of such art piece. The article presented is a museum paper that analyses an artwork of Anne Maria Maiolino. Art Work Selection. After my visit to MOCA, I have selected to analyze the salient messaged passed in the art piece ‘Between Lives” by Anna Maria Maiolino. The composition of laying eggs on the floor and a person walking carefully to avoid stepping on them showed a message the indicates the value of life. Apparently, an egg symbolizes life (Kemp-Welch 31). The artist utilized the egg to promote an understanding that there is potential in life development. It urged a person to be cautious while walking as the eggs embodied life that was sacred. Moreover, I also obtained information that an egg is fragile based on its potential to hold life. With this, I could easily understand the feelings of the artist by simply looking at her work. Clearly, Anna Maria Maiolino aimed at expressing the feeling of vulnerability and the need for further care and support. As a result, I wanted to know more about this feeling and the artist’s purpose. Through the analysis of the artwork, I received an information about the presented situation and a story behind it.

Contextual Analysis

Between Lives by Anna Maria Maiolino was created in 1981 through the use of a gelatin silver print on paper technique in photography (Agra 880). The artwork originally aimed to evoke the tension existing between life and death. Apparently, the art piece was created during a dictatorship period in Brazil and was meant to serve as a response to it during that time (Calirman 14). The obvious message evident in the work is political in nature (Scovino and Sergio 7). Clearly, the author claims that the authorities can oppress the citizens making them feel fragile. The eggs entail vulnerability, thus communicating the feeling of feature and tension between them and environment. The artist has played an important role in establishing an analogy between menace and repression originating from the noted dictatorship during the said time. The major dilemma posed is that of having to make a choice between life and death which further reaffirms the fact that photo transfers the importance of life. The eggs are indeed in a threatening situation with the person walking in the picture having the power to determine their future and survival (Boxer 44). Thus, leaders should acknowledge the notion that the people’s fate lies within their hands. Being in power means that they should undertake the responsibility of protecting the people rather than utilizing their abilities to oppress and deprive them of a comfortable living.

There is also a personal context presented in the photo. It is evident that the author herself felt the tyranny and oppression of the regime and manifested against with the means of art. Artists tend to express their inner feelings in their installation trying to make people feel their concerns (Lochan 199). The religious message refers to the concept of sacredness and divine origins of life that should be protected against any infringement. Art often serves as means to emphasize a human’s transcendence as compared to the eternity of the world (Malik). In this case, the photo stressed the temporality and importance of life that should be treated with caution.

As for social message, it was similar to the above ones. The author emphasized the need for humans to treat each other with due respect and restrain from hurting the feelings of others. A person’s life is fragile and should not be harmed. Undoubtedly, art has a civilising influence on society (Bazalgette). The author of this artwork calls for greater tolerance towards other people by emphasizing the very uncertainty of our existence.

Apparently, the people are vulnerable and live only by the mercy of others. Communicating a message of peace, life, and the need for tolerance is highly important to the modern society as well.

Compositional Analysis

The art piece is composed of dozen of chicken eggs lying on the floor. The eggs seem to be scared all across the street with someone trying to avoid stepping on them. The artwork has a naturalistic appearance since it implements the use of natural patterns and real life objects. The major technique utilized for the presented art is gelatin silver print on paper used and the medium applied was photography. The utilized descriptive technique is photographic triptych with the overall dimension of the work being estimated as 89,8 x 172,8 cm. The art piece is further categorized under the Action photography with an entry date of 2012 (Whitney 53).


Thus, with symbolism Anna Maria Maiolino passed a message to the people calling them to protect and respect their lives and the lives of others. Between Lives artwork transmits a feeling of fear and vulnerability and the need for due safeguarding.

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Works Cited

Whitney, Kathleen. "Between Senses." Ceramics Monthly, vol. 63, no. 8, Oct. 2015, pp. 53-55.

Kemp-Welch, Klara. "Angela De La Cruz: After Anna Maria Maiolino: Continuous." Art Monthly, no. 336, May 2010, pp. 31-32.

Agra, Rosa María. "Research Update for Articles Published in EJCI in 2014." European Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 46, no. 10, Oct. 2016, pp. 880-894.

"Galleries Museums and Artists." Art in America, 105, no. 7, Art in America, LLC, Aug. 2017, pp. 61-202.

Boxer, Sarah. "Move Over, Michelangelo." Atlantic, vol. 318, no. 5, Dec. 2016, pp. 44-49.

Scovino, Felipe and Sérgio Bruno Martins. "Moacir Dos Anjos and Agnaldo Farias in Conversation with Felipe Scovino." Third Text, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 5-15.

Calirman, Claudia. Brazilian art under dictatorship: Antonio Manuel, Artur Barrio, and Cildo Meireles. Duke University Press, 2012.

Lochan, Rajiv. “Art Born of Personal Experience.” India International Centre Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 3, 2001, pp. 199–202. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23005575.

Malik, Kenan. “The sacred in art is about more than religion | Kenan Malik.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Mar. 2014, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2014/mar/18/sacred-art-religion-humans.

Bazalgette, Peter. “We have to recognise the huge value of arts and culture to society.” The Observer, Guardian News and Media, 26 Apr. 2014, www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/apr/27/value-of-arts-and-culture-to-society-peter-bazalgette.

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