The Cosmogony exhibition in Centre Culturel Bellegarde was closed with an art workshop for children inspired by my work. Unfortunately I was not there to watch them play around with ink but they sent me pictures of the event along with some pictures of my artist talk at the venue. Self evidently these kids are doing a much better job than myself in capturing expressive and spontaneous forms so I am more than happy to learn from them.
'Kosmogonie' is the title of my first exhibition in Belgium that is opening on 2nd March 2016. After living and working abroad for nearly ten years I am back in my own country and proud to present paintings made in Berlin, Canada and France in a stunning gallery space in Roeselare called negenpuntnegen. This solo show will occupy the entire ground floor of the gallery, while the first and second floor are showcasing a beautiful and impressive permanent collection. Saturday March 5th 2016 I will be present at the gallery from 2pm to 6pm to welcome you and talk about the work.
Last week my Cosmogony show opened in Toulouse. The work is a selection of paintings from the Cosmogony series made during artist residencies in Belgium, Germany, Canada and France, along with an installation made in Artscape Gibraltar Point Toronto called Oracle.
Along with the exhibition a short film was produced by the film crew of Centre Culturel Bellegarde. They insisted I should talk French and I did, even though I can't say it was the path of least resistance for me. They were patient, however, and I hope anyone who watches this video will be too! The film does manage to show the gorgeous light in my temporary studio in the French Midi-Pyrénées, it shows some of my processes and I managed to speak a little about things that concern me in my work.
I have recently concluded a three month stay as artist-in-residence at Artscape Gibraltar Point Toronto. A very intuitive and dream-like series of events led me there and the entire stay turned out to be a rather fantastic experience.
"Oracle" is an 11 by 11 by 11 square pyramid made up of 506 stacked up paper pyramids. In Pythagorean numerology the number 506 is reduced to number 11 yet again by adding up the digits. 5 + 0 + 6 = 11. According to the same principles, however, number 11 is not reduced to number 2 because it is a so called "master number" and symbolizes the possibility of enlightenment and the highest spiritual perception. Contemplating the existence of such a symbol and being in the presence of it automatically brings us closer to that experience. In the same way shamanism, healing and sorcery throughout the history of all cultures has worked we use the Oracle to receive answers. Not because the Oracle speaks to us directly but because we are able to surpass our own self-imposed limitations through the power of our imagination.
My new studio in the converted school on Toronto Island is quiet and inspiring. There is lots of natural light and outside there is nothing but trees and snow. There is a beach just a few steps from my studio and because of the extreme cold this winter the shore line is converted in a giant ice sculpture you can walk on.
Toronto based art organization Artscape has accepted me to come and work in their residency program March 2015. A ferry boat will take me, my ink, paper and brushes over the frozen water to the stillness of Toronto island for a one month residency starting on Monday 2nd of March. More about the residency here http://www.torontoartscape.org/artscape-gibraltar-point.
I will be mainly working on the Cosmogony series with ink and watercolour on paper.
My gaze is nailed into the fog
of a dark and vast landscape
of crooked trees and pools and puddles and dried up ponds.
I'm stretching the veins that carry the blood into town
for the ghosts and the midwives and the cobblers and the priests
to trade and hypothesize, and let them talk.
A prenatal sentence of thirty years
left me with nothing more than all I need
And now that I'm free and running wild and wicked
I'm staring with disbelief at the blunt and bloody hayfork I'm holding
And the quirky shapes and colors of mud, emerald. Brick and bone, their beauty unfolding.
I consider myself a conduit for vibrations. In the process of creating imagery and words or movements and sounds I am like a tuner. Using my imagination rather than hard knowledge, I allow myself to gain access to content that I proceed to translate into imagery, forms, colors or whatever seems appropriate for the material I am working with. Ideally, this content is arising spontaneously rather than through effort, trying and searching. To rediscover and allow the natural ability for creation as a way of life is what excites and drives me. Living and working in different countries and environments teaches me about the restrictions of my perception while bringing me tools to expand. My work is knowing the essence of who I am and thereby knowing the world around me.
The goal is always to create from a place balancing between focus and concentration. The words are synonyms, and in a sense these two states are indeed very similar, but experientially they can be very different. In a metaphysical, or spiritual sense they have a different vibration, or density if you will. To focus, literally means to leave everything out that does not belong to the point of interest and creates in that way a sphere of consciousness that allows in only that element, or those elements that were chosen to focus on. It is a very dense state, and a very limited one. Limited in that sense that it is highly specialized. This limitation is not bad in itself, but in the execution of a work of art it creates a rather 'mental' environment that depends on assumptions such as time and space and all the constructions that are implied by this basic framework of the human experience.
Imagine in any way you are able to picture it: a state of perfect balance. There is no movement. There is no sound. It is like a white that knows no black. Like a black that knows no white. There is no direction, no momentum, there is no going and no returning. Imagine from this place, a pure and clear intention, a thought that barely has any weight or form or smell, but is distinct and perfectly in tune with its own being. This pure vibration, this direction, this creation, is never alone, because the balance that was, still is, and this balance is eternal and undisturbed. Every intention, every vibration, every color, every sound, form and direction is creating its opposite, at precisely the moment it is being created by its opposite.
I was invited to work three months in the Guanlan printmaking base in South China as an independent artist in residence. Board and accommodation in one of the antique Chinese houses is offered in exchange for a portion of the produced work. The houses, galleries and printmaking studio are located in a restored Haka village in the Guangdong province famous for its endless industry and crazy food habits. The base is treated as a gated community and is something of a local tourist attraction for workers and visitors from all around the country. Words fall short to describe all the experiences I had. Pictures will have to do for now.