Approaching Conceptual Art | Ideas and Other Forms of Art

As we’ve seen, the gallery experience is created in order to allow us to think about the idea, and in this sense conceptual art is similar to certain films or books.
Most films deal in ideas, but a lot of the time they aren’t foregrounded. Films entertain us - entrance us with movement and sound, action and emotion - and whilst doing so they also allow us to think about certain ideas.

As an example, we’ll consider the feature film, The Dark Knight. Whilst being action packed and visually impressive, this film also prompts us to think about a series of ideas. Its foundations lie within the basic concept of right and wrong; from this come ideas of honour and justice, and of doing the right thing. Questions of morality are frequently raised.

In watching the film we will mostly apprehend these ideas on an almost unconscious level; we quickly resolve where we stand on these various issues without the need to consciously process our thoughts. Some of the ideas may become more conscious and stay with us beyond the film, and we could find ourselves mulling them over days, or even weeks, later.

Whilst providing us with two and a half hours of entertainment, The Dark Knight has also allowed us to think about a series of ideas, and in this respect it shares a characteristic with conceptual art.

The same can be said for many (if not most) literary works of fiction, as well as theatre and songs.