Saturday, August 27, 2011


Gustav Klimt (caption later)
People often ask you which artists have influenced your art. I always used to say nobody. I felt that my art came from myself 100 %. Back in the early days there weren't that many books and exhibitions to get impressions from anyway. But there are obviously artists who I a special feel kinship with, historical characters being among others Giorgio De Chrico, Frida Kahlo, and Gustav Klimt. I always thought it interesting that they are all Cancerians. While I'm not overly familiar with starsigns and all that, nevertheless, this made me very curious about the Cancerian character. Not least as I am one too, and I have always investigated into myself. I discovered that authors I liked when still reading fiction (Hermann Hesse in particular) were Cancerian too, and that people I got on with especially well were Cancerian... It seemed to me there was something that all these people understood that no one else seemed to be able to express. Something very deep about the mystery of life and our emotions in the grand scheme of things. Something very sensuous, warm, comforting and utterly compelling. They are maternal and caring even when they don't have children of their own. Knowing that I am one of them is a cosy experience. And I should probably add that the concerns of other star signs just don't seem to resonate with me quite so much!

Giorgio De Chirico: The Tower, 1913
There is a sense of warmth and protection
which is unprecedented -
and may I venture to say, very Cancerian!
Giorgio De Chirico: The Enigma of the Arrival and the Afternoon, 1911/12

Giorgio De Chirico: The Tower, 1913
May I venture to say... that only a Cancerian is able
to make shadows like this seem warm and comforting...
It's the kind of city I would like to live in...
Protective and silent.
I was thinking of my recent interest in Tracey Emin's art and why it made an impact on me. It suddenly struck me, that only a Cancerian could make that kind of art. I had to go and find out - well, sure enough, she is one too! Is this peculiar or what?? In her art, there is a subjectivity, warmth and a connection between the various elements of life and living that makes sense to me on a deeper level. My explorations into this sphere restored my belief in contemporary and unconventional art. It's true that although I've been interested in contemporary art and thoroughly enjoy documentaries about artists, I haven't dug very deep since the late 1980s. 

Gustav Klimt (caption later)
Gustav Klimt (caption later) Sensuality - a very
Cancerian quality
Part of my excitement was probably seeing patterns that made sense to me. It reminds me of other times in my life when I have become engrossed in a particular subject that "just made sense". Virginia Woolf's stream of consciousness writing (compare this with Tracye Emin's streams of words) when I was in second grade,  or the symbolism of the egg in primordial myths as they explain oneness versus dualism when I was at art college in France (and totally screwed up my chances because of a sudden fascination with academic research).  On a more esoteric level, there were the explorations into the cause and effect of karma and the logic of reincarnation, explorations into the human energy system and how it relates to the rest of reality, Ken Wilber's carefully patterned theories about the evolution of consciousness, and my thesis at Uni on creativity and the inner patterns connected to it. What all these things have in common is the exploration of deep seated patterns that define reality. This moves and excites me in a way that nothing else does!

The last ten years has been a time of emotional chaos; of experiences all emotions and learning to understand them as well as deal with them. I have been burn out many times, and my attention span has gotten worse. A couple of years ago I started to want to read non-fiction again but it's slow and arduous. Yet I feel compelled to nourish my brain so that I can generate new and stimulating thoughts... I just don't want to give in to the condition.
Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "The Past Comes Crumbling Down", 2008
The dark and mysterious, or...
Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "My Secret Garden", copyright 1997
The light and mysterious...

So as usual, after a time of low and even depression, something has come together in my subconscious mind and I feel something beckoning me in a certain direction. I finally started on a piece of art that I have been thinking about for months. We could really use some money and I would be happy to sell some art. But I cannot bring myself to thinking in commercial terms. I have to follow my heart. And in spite of some misgivings, I can't stop thinking that I need to bring out the issue of chronic illness more poignantly. I've been debating how to go about it in an elegant way. Perhaps Tracey Emin and her self-disclosure has helped me feel more determined about what I probably ought to do. Only time will show what the exact impact has been.  Strangely, this time I can honestly say that I feel influenced by another artist though exactly in what way is not clear to me yet.

This is the starting point of my new work. The sheet is bigger than usual, it's A1. For the past ten years  I used to do small work because of many reasons: 1) I could scan them and get a good print without much trouble. 2) I could only afford buying small frames from Ikea 3) I didn't have anyone to help me so when I needed to take artwork to an exhibition it had to be managable. There was a drawback, however, which is that I wasn't able to draw much myself. My fine motoric skills have degenerated over the years. I have now decided to go for bigger images as Martin can help me with the practical issues. I want them to have more impact on the audience. I also hope that I can integrate more drawing into the images.

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Claude" 1993
I will be attempting to draw the figure of myself as seen on the print-out on the table. There will be a lot of copyright free men in the picture as well, so I need to do a lot of scanning. This is not easy to do since my old scanner is not compatible with my new PC, so I have to do it through Martin's tablet PC which he needs for drawing. He's getting on with his exciting illustration project for a book...
Martin Herbert - Character Study for a Book Project,
copyright 2011

Read my blogpost about Frida Kahlo as we impersonated the couple  here.
Read my extensive analysis of Tracey Emin's work here.

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