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Alyssa Jennings

Art is a lie…

“We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth

that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince

others of the truthfulness of his lies.” –Pablo Picasso

Art is the expression by the people and for the people. It is the imitation of what

people wish to see in their lives, the arrangement of dreams places in reality, the beauty

hidden behind the ugly world brightened and heightened for simple pleasures and

understanding. It isn’t reality and will never be reality. Art looks to the people boldfaced

and shows them the horrors that they live in and the reality of the beauty that is never

seen. Art lies. Art shows the reality of the world. Art is the difference. Art is the white to

the black reality. Art and reality are juxtaposed.

Art is expressed in different ways. So this can include music, literature, films,

photography, sculptures and of course, painting. In these many ways that art is expressed,

they all come back to the same definition. They are aesthetically pleasing to the people of

this world. It is to stimulate the thoughts and the senses of the people. Art is simply made

up. It is the lies that we see from our hearts and our minds and in our dreams. It is wishful

ideas and representations of what we want and would like. Art is pretty. Art is ugly. No

work of fiction is entirely fictional, because the creator can’t help but express his or her

own thoughts, feelings, and imagination in the process of writing the story. And it is one

and the same for nonfiction. The creator expresses thoughts and feelings that would not

happen in reality.
Alyssa Jennings

In this book, My Name is Asher Lev, Asher is an artist. He paints, he draws and he

creates. But the things he creates are all drawn based on the view he has on the person or

the object. It isn’t what the actual nature of the thing. Like many times you will see him

drawing things based on his opinion of it. Even when he goes under the supervision of

Jacob Khan he tells Asher "Listen to me, Asher Lev. As an artist you are responsible to

no one and to nothing, except to yourself and to the truth as you see it" (218) and even

says “nothing is real to me except my own feelings; nothing is true except my own

feelings as I seem them all around me in my sculptures and paintings. I know these

feelings are true, because if they are not true they would make art that is as terrible as the

world."(226).

Even Asher takes the things that are truth and transforms them based on what he

believes. For example in the beginning of the book, when he is being scolded for

drawing, he draws the Rebbe in his folders and he looks at them and says “the Rebbe

looked evil; the Rebbe looked threatening; the Rebbe looking out at me from the

Chumash seemed about to hurt me…I was frightened at the picture I had drawn” (125).

Asher has a bad attitude towards the Rebbe ever since he was told that the Rebbe ordered

their family to go to Vienna, and this was reflected in his art. Even though this is not what

the Rebbe actually looks like, it is a lie that shows us what truth Asher feels about him.

Essentially no matter what kind of art that is made, the artist has added an

impression of his or her emotions to the art. The feelings of the art are shown in the

artwork and are never the full truth of the matter. Same with things that aren’t made to be

the truth, they are flecked with the beginnings of truth, and are based upon a certain idea

of truth. Even in this novel, the character has many true ideas, but it is not the entire truth,
Alyssa Jennings

but is shows us in many ways the truth of the matter by making us look deeper into the

situation at hand. The art of Asher Lev lies to us about reality but shows us the truth of

the feelings of the artist, as we look deeper into the surrounding influences.