Turning experience into art. Turning real things into real things, a visual vocabulary into words, into essay, into form, into a journal. Where I am at this moment and where I am reaching now.
The ultimate achievement of art is communication with other persons. Art is always made for the other, an imaginary one, who sees and understands and is involved. It is an act of transference.
René Magritte has a painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. There is a profound sense in it. Transferring a real object from the real world into a real work of art is magic. There is genius in it. A sacred space where memories evoke rather than directly perceive. Our eyes see it, but we are looking at our past, a mental imagery, of past experiences rather than the real thing. The thing in its shadow.
When we see an art work we bring our expectations to it. Our living traces of conscious and unconscious. The archetypes that we all are and that enable an artwork to live in all human races.
But the artwork always has its creator in it. Artists like, hunt, gobble, digest, and ultimately spit out our own experiences and other people’s art and in the process create a new one. Shaw said poets talk to themselves aloud and the world overhears them. Painters dream aloud and the world sees it and dreams along with us.
I was working for a while on the theme of Parisian cafes and portraits, having this narrative way of developing chapters and paragraphs of Parisian life. I worked from the spot, sketching, connecting. I didn’t know that a trip to Japan would reorient me, break patterns, long held and lovingly adored.
I was looking for other things in Japan, maybe him, maybe them, I’m not sure, but I discovered new ways of seeing and thinking. I was surprised, taken aback, by Japanese art, its way of living, its way of relating to nature. I was indelibly changed by the profound way and work of Fukumi Shimura, growing her own plants, making colours out of them, painting kimonos with those colours, large canvasses of calligraphy and beauty, all the while writing poetry about it all.
My large watercolours series painted with pigments and semi- precious grinned stones came out of it. I call this series, “Serendipity”.
Good art must surprise us. Something happens at that moment of expectations meeting inspection. It somehow rewires old patterns in us and opens new ways of relating to the world.
I was surprised.
And yet there was also something in it that I could not completely get. And I liked that feeling. I wanted to bring this feeling into my large abstract images: Time. I wanted to have it all in this magical box called art, engulfing the spectator for certain periods and allowing the work of art to unfold. You can’t move away from it. It is an experience of art, interpersonal and intersubjective.
And then you spit it out.
And then you want to see it again. But it will be different. It hasn’t changed, but you have. You are already changed. And with it, the dialogue between an art work and a person, the viewing and the changing, the post and reply has begun. It is a life-time interaction.
I had this question – how to relate my work where I paint people and faces to that vast abstract area of Serendipity, with which I am now so taken. Maybe a good way will be to give yourself that feeling of a space. Maybe it will be to explore the vastness of the inside. What is the common point that I have in both of them?
I’ve started to paint bigger sizes of watercolours now. 1×1 m. I have bigger areas now where I can bring the abstract language I learned from the Serendipity series, where I can dive and break old patterns.
I am curious about people’s reaction to my new work. They feel there is something uncomfortable in them, these sunny, happy paintings of the cafes. What happened? What is it? Has established unconscious patterns of reaction been challenged. Have expectations changed? External reality in dissonance with the inner comfort zone?
I want to look at their faces. But why? I am taken somewhere else and can’t stop myself looking at their watercolour patterns and drops and somewhere in the reflection of the glass on the background.
I am more in my paintings than ever before. They engulf me for a longer time than ever before.
The mutation of art from the artist has become the bodily parts of its spectator.