What Apple?

What apple?

Here’s what I hope might be an interesting idea to ponder while at the easel today: So let’s imagine you just finished painting a charming picture of an apple. It’s your best rendition of an apple to date so you are filled with pride when you sit back to enjoy your accomplishment and reflect on your ability to bring it into existence.

But consider the nature of that existence. What happens to that apple the second you look away? Anything? Do you think it would remain unchanged in the absence of your gaze? Does your apple even exist if no one is there to look at it?

Do these seem like silly questions? Perhaps–but while they may seem absurd at first, consider the seemingly equally absurd argument FOR the idea that two significantly dissimilar objects (a piece of fruit and a series of particulate-ridden vegetable oil smears on a piece of fabric or wood) can both be appropriately understood as an “apple.” I mean, when we are asked to point to that apple “in” our painting—what are we pointing at?

So with all this in mind—what do you think happens to that charming apple when we look away?


i’d posit that nothing really happens. even if someone eats the apple or torches the painting whilst our back is turned. after all we’re just a collection of particles, star matter, and energy can neither be created or destroyed.

though to appear less nihilistic - the thing you’re pointing at in the painting is the memory of an apple. the concept of an apple even, which is maybe why impressionism is a thing. then if you try and think of it non-visually, like how listening to live music is ephemeral, (and a recording that is even more meta), then imagine hearing a similar sound that reminds us of the same music. it still only existed for us at that point in time and then it’s gone. we know it happened, and maybe will again but that’s our lot for the most part, and perhaps is exactly why we seek to replicate it through our art.


hmmm. what a bunch of questions… we need some metaphysicists over here, like right now!
my instinct is to take the view that things exist pretty much independently of whether we’re looking at them or not. take any old cave painting… painted aeons ago, then hidden, then discovered again, looked at again… did those ochre handprints change (apart from the unavoidable material deterioration) during all those years when not being looked at?

taking it to the extreme, though, you might as well ask: "what happens to any (rendition of a) thing when it’s not being looked at. the concept must surely apply to sculpture too? we might even apply the question to other artforms, like “what happens to a piece of music when it’s not being listened to?”

ouch, my head hurts :exploding_head:

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In a very odd way it starts laughing or complaining or perhaps remains in some form of semi conscious limbo. All of this is of course Is ones self , the thought the memories the actual painting all are you in the universe taking place simply because of our existence or creation of existence.
Every one person or thing that interacts with it in a sense makes it even more present,maybe?
Or it’s just a really great Apple painting.
If I tape an apple to the wall at the MOMA will I sell it for $100,000.00 dollars or get arrested.

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you will definitely get arrested, but just yell “anthony made me do it!!!” and they might let you go.

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I am gonna give it a shot. Maybe.

If anything I can become more confident in performance art.

In another light, I have pondered the Apple conundrum, one has to wonder,? Exactly how do we live in this universe or perhaps endless universes.
I think it was Isaac Asimov that said everything thing or thought or subconscious thought is absolutely present in the universe. So the Apple might have infinite lives of its own in some crazy way. Best just to paint it as best as one can, or choose to interpret it with pizzazz and class.

LOL! :laughing: