`There's No Such Thing as Modern Art, It's Just a Word That's Coined'
Byline: HANNAH JONES Arts and Media Editor
THEY'RE ``rubbish'', painted or made by people ``who have no talent at all'' and who are ``totally ignorant.'' In short, they are ``bloody awful.'' For much of the traditional Welsh arts establishment Sir Kyffin Williams is Wales's greatest living artist. His word is law, his opinions on art sacrosanct and his views widely sought. For many, he is a living legend. His works sell for thousands of pounds and last night people were queuing over night to attend his latest Cardiff exhibition.
And when it comes to modern art, he's someone not afraid to critically disseminate the genre.
As someone who has gone on record as saying the nation does not care enough about its art, he is adamant that Wales should have a room dedicated to Welsh art dating from the early 18th Century until 1950.
He also openly blasts such contemporary enfant terribles as Tracy Emin and Damian Hirst as ``nothing more than personalities with little or no talent.'' ``There's no such thing as modern art,'' said the 84-year-old who lives on Anglesey. ``It's just a word that's coined.'' Sir Kyffin, Wales's only knighted artist, says the problem starts with art schools which turn out artists with little or no formal training in the basic principles.
``Nobody today learns how to draw, paint and sculpt,'' he said.
``These days an interest in drawing and painting is rejected in favour of people who are only interested in themselves, people who only care about being celebrities. When people, these days, go to art school they are told to go off, come back after they've expressed themselves.
``Teachers haven't got any interest in students as artists and they come out totally ignorant making ignorant work.'' Sir Kyffin, who takes his inspir-ation from the landscape in dark work thick with intensity and uncomplicated meaning, says contemporary modern art lacks any element of humanity which he equates with ``absolute artistic expression. …