Art–all the best art–is subversive. Not in weird, spooky ways necessarily (although it could be), but in the sense that it always makes demands of us to see the world, and thus ourselves, in a different light.
This applies whether we are considering recordings, written works, paintings, sculptures, etc. The artist, I would argue a “sub-creator” (to borrow Tolkien’s phrase), out of an idea creates something that didn’t previously exist. How like God! Who, into the void, spoke creation into being.
Thus it is that art represents an ideal, or even an idealized representation, presented in a physical, visual, or written medium. We who feel the burning need to thus create, do so because we have something to “say.”
And what we say–whether spoken, sung, written, painted, sculpted, or photographed–involves the subversion of an ideal, the manifestation into physical space what was once “merely” an idea. To borrow Rob Bell’s words, “this” becomes “that.”
And “that”–the work of art–always focuses with laser-like intensity on one thing: life. Or an aspect thereof. If, as I said above, all the best art is subversive, then the best art subverts itself into life. Indeed takes on a life of its own–separate and distinct from its creator.
Who has not gone back to edit, view, or listen to one’s own work(s), and not discovered something therein that was never consciously intended to be there?
That is life. (In sense, like Creation itself, which for good, or ill, has seemingly taken on a life of its own).
All the best art is about life–what it is, isn’t, could be, should be, might be. Else why, for instance, have Stephen King’s books sold so well? We buy so deeply into the macabre scenarios precisely because his characters “feel” real. They could be us. His art is thus about our life. The actual is subverted into the ideal.
It is the same with other art forms as well: the artist is inviting us in, to share their vision, and to, in turn, turn a new eye towards the world, and ourselves.
All the best art is subversive. This is that is life is art is us.