I paint, I draw and I build things
It was in April almost two years ago. I was sitting in a white Hyundai Santa Fe car together with my wife and two daughters. We traveled along Highway One, from San Francisco to Eureka, we had all the time in the world. Many breaks were taken. We stopped and searched for shells and played in the scales along countless beaches. Sometimes we were forced to stop just to step out of the car and allow the ocean scenery to overwhelm us. The road was winding through the high cliffs and tall sequoia trees. The journey was the goal as the saying goes.
Our drive did not last more than seven days, but it left a deep impression in me. This exhibition is a proof of it. Below, I have tried to formulate some things I think it is about, even if it does not contain everything.
* 1 *
California, the farthest west the western world reaches, is the epicenter of capitalism dating from the 19th century gold rush and on. Residence of the rich and the fameous and those who still chase the American dream. But also the home of freedom-loving hippies, those who gave up the dream that capitalism would save the world – those who live “off the grid”; new age-mystics and nature romantics. Even though I am far from living like them, I sometimes am drawn to the idea of leaving everything, civilization – organized society, just as some have done.
* 2 *
Escapism, is something I think we can all relate to; the daydreaming state when we fantate about something more and something better. Based on a lack or lack, in the mind we move to other places, to another possible life. What does that kind of escapism stand for? Is it just an extension of the American dream – that the grass is greener on the other side and the restless inner life that follows such thoughts. Or is what Tolkien said “The only ones who hate escapism are the prison guards”. That escapism tells us that another life is possible, another way of living and looking at the world. In some way, art is related to the escapism. The theologian Walter Brueggemann wrote “art is articulating a world other than the one we take for granted”. In the studio, the imagination finds the freedom to explore those alternative worlds.
* 3 *
Longing, that which is connected with the perishability of life, the feeling of homelessness and existential confusion. It is a feeling that can penetrate, which can not be shaken. Some places, some landscapes, seem to awaken that kind of desire more than others. Where I sat on Dillon Beach among the beach grass and the dunes and watched when the sun went down, it became such a place for me. A cold beer of the Great White brand seemed to accompany the mood well. Is all our longing also an echo from the original feeling of the home-long-lost paradise? That we, like Cain, run around in exile, strangers to ourselves and each other? What is then coming home? Is it finding oneself and ones place in the world? To meet the great love, finding the way back to God, or perhaps rather to be found?
* 4 *
Memory Fragments. Memories have always been a mysterious and exciting device, not only because we often find our life goals and dreams embedded in them, but more than that, the memories capture the essentials of our lives that can not be regained, not transformed and not changed. But they can be distorted. Our memories are volatile by nature and usually require different forms of anchor to be held; a note with date, a photograph with GPS coordinates or a title headline. Even with these anchors there is a gap between the actual event and the memory of it. They are fragments of the time elapsed, some more resolved than others.