When asked why she put holes through her sculptures, the artist Barbara Hepworth said, “so that I can see what’s on the other side.” I was told this by a tour guide who proceeded to read many deep and meaningful things into Hepworth’s words – ideas about transformation, about our relationship with art, about the materials Hepworth was working with. I’m not convinced Hepworth meant it in that way though. I suspect it was the deliberately dumb, flippant answer of an artist sick of answering the same question.
Of course, the two approaches aren’t incompatible. All those deep thoughts the tour guide had are totally valid ways of getting something out of Hepworth’s words. Something can be dumb and deep at the same time. As Jake Peralta said, stuff can do two things.