By definition, art is representative.
In that, it’s a micro representation of macro life on earth.
BUT, inherently, does ALL art necessarily make claims to be widely representative?
In theory, and conventionally, art is appealing because it tells exceptional stories, remarkable for reasons beyond the norm.
Will all art present universal and relatable truths? Of course. And does some art strive to make larger points about the human condition, using individuals to represent bigger types and populations? OF COURSE. And could this commentary be misguided, perpetuating stereotypes that aren’t conclusively true to life? OF COURSE OF COURSE OF COURSE.
But art can also be nothing more — and nothing less! — than a representation of individual experience. Unless you personally interview every person on Planet Earth, how can you reasonably guarantee that what’s depicted isn’t true for at least one soul on this spinning orb?
My point being: I chafe at interpretations that aim to discredit a piece of art by assuming the characters represent groups that share specific identifying features with them, as if they’re solely defined by these traits and must take into account how the art represents these groups.
Now, such interpretations are completely fair game…as one possible interpretation of the proceedings. But how about citing other, more charitable and forgiving interpretations? By the argument’s own logic, if art represents life, then how can a piece of art be reduced to one interpretation? If life could be boiled down to a single interpretation, the world would be a simpler place.
Rather, shouldn’t art be as open to as many interpretations as the complexity of life — some positive, some negative?
If art is sapped of all things potentially problematic, then is it representative of anything more than its own agenda?