Sunday, 30 August 2009

Let's make it a bit more transparent,


Ok - the white room is history now. A funny, very present and very, very good place to have been for two months. To sort out far more things than I thought I could, hoped I would or even knew they needed sorting.

So, we got on pretty well with each other, I soaked up some past, memories and generally a lot of empty white space. And thus offloaded some of my past, memories, and above all: plans and hopes, into the two months and into this large empty room.

Many of them will begin to properly unfold as of in eight days (and counting). But until then: a bit of art.

I played a few games with myself and this space. Was curious what would happen with this two-months short-term lease in the middle of Kreuzberg, tagged it as a research trip. And research I did.

With all the training and cpd stuff I've been doing at work, I've become a lot more experimental and daring with the contexts in which I can work well. And I generally work well in chaos: pull everything out off the cupboards, mix it up and stir and be confident that whatever is important will emerge. So: I tried deliberate confusion. And confused I was. Until, one day - well: 31 july, really, it all became crystal clear.

With the White Room as art work I tried to be pushy, determined and rather forceful - after all: time was limited and so very precious.

I was intrigued by the bareness, the emptiness and some strong colours. I was also intrigued by this room as outwith time and space. A place that somehow had become unhooked from a past and a future, it only existed as an improvised holiday flat with bare kitchen and people coming and going, leaving some notes while passing but that was all.

I wanted, and still want, to capture some of that fleetingness, something that is present, remains out of focus and I can't quite grasp it while all the time I feel its presence.

And so I tried:
- Weiss, weiss, weiss, das weiss ich
- More white overlaid

and on Matisse, specifically:
- Interior illusions
- Matisse, colour and I

And sketched:

Hahaha.... and of course that challenge made me trip up. It mirrored some of my own confusion over the past two months, but as a wee sideline art project to play with, it was far too ambitious - or, well, maybe not... I could in fact not get it into focus. What I could see in front of my eyes was clear - in white and lime and orange.

But everything else???

I was getting myself lost a bit in Matisse - and that has been very useful and exciting. There is something so intriguing about his compositions and his constructions of space. And all the same, I can see far more about what I'm not after than what I can take. But I think that's a productive tension and I will keep asking about that one in Matisse's work.

There are really two points or rather lines, I finally got to with the White Room

1. Layering of one view (today)
2. Distortions of the room floor as picture plane (next post)

The obvious approach for me seemed layering: I tried tissue paper, with acrylic inks, pastels and other assortments. And was craving for tracing paper. Something more solid, stable than the tissue paper. On the last weekend I finally got some and did a few more turns with it.

It's only a small sample in my large sketchbook. It is layered, pulled apart and flipped. It is the view that intrigued me most: an old-fashioned window, with some strong colours and reflections. The layering in itself was not enough. It needed to be spread out and distorted this way. And I think, that idea can go a bit further: onto larger sheets and possibly some other media.

The White Room study
The White Room, study
mixed media collage, 25x20cm

It's the space, some definite lines and still it isn't. You think you can see it clearly and yet you can't. The shapes look familiar and yet they aren't.

What do you think?

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