IF I MIX BLACK WITH THE CONCEPT BACKWARDS16 June 2021 – 1 October 2021
If I mix black
with a concept
I must get to know the wind. As thoroughly as possible. In all its forms, occurrences: just as it is and how I imagine it to be. I watch the wind from every angle. If I can, even from the inside. To me, the wind came to be. It could have been something else but to me, the wind came to be it. And it feels right. As the writer says: the writer’s home is in the scent of paper. I feel at home in the wind. In this gigantic, cosmic, elemental breath.
It could be incidental, but the explanation is important, the cause that may have come after the effect, yet it remains to be crucial. Reverse chronology. Like when we only understand something in hindsight, much later than when it had actually occurred. To know something truly is to know it in detail, therefore my knowing of the wind must be multifaceted, too. I must inspect each quality, each characteristic. Both real and imaginary. This is the only way I can get the whole picture: the only way I can describe the anatomy of wind. The anatomy of the formless material, the immaterial effect, the ineffectual intermediary. Wind is more than moving air, airflow or draft. Just as a sigh is more than air leaving our mouths. And the more difficult this is to explain, the more alive it is. We have to find the intangible. We have to say the indescribable, listen to the ever-silent, get a grasp on the untouchable, paint the invisible.
I paint the wind. This is what I tell myself. Because what could be easier? And I invoke this familiar and noble practice: painting. We like to think that painting was invented to illustrate things. But that’s not the truth. Or not the full truth. We also use it to visualise. And visualisation is the art of reproducing the likeness of something. The likeness which might not match the original in its appearance, but it does in essence. We use it to observe order, to understand the nature and soul of our object. As a result, we create something that is homologous to the model, a structure that corresponds to the original. In this sense, painting is not used to illustrate or portray but rather to recreate. It recreates a true equal to its observed object. In this case, a painting that is identical to the wind. A creation that, in its essence, is identical to the subject matter.
I paint the wind. Recreate it, that is, and not just illustrate it. I recreate it in painting. Recreation is understanding. Understanding the anatomy of the wind, the essence of the wind, the soul of the wind. I approach it through its invisibility, I pay attention to its presence.
If I take a huge canvas outside and the wind I try to paint is the same wind that tousles the canvas, ruffles my hair and whistles among the trees while I paint, then perhaps the direct connection between the wind present and the wind on the canvas is not just a figment of my imagination. But this is no more than a circumstance. As is the fact that the same wind dries wet paint on the canvas. But it’s ME who’s painting the wind. Regardless of circumstances, I paint it as it is and as I am in that moment. I paint it in its ever-changing nature, as it guides me and fights me, as it teases and endows me, surprising me, growing silent.
I paint the wind. I don’t just put it on the canvas, I paint it. I don’t just illustrate it, I create it. If I simply put it on the canvas, then it would be illustration but if I paint it, I recreate it. I recreate it – on canvas. Wind is present. Always and everywhere. Even when it does not blow. But when it does blow, I can only see the result. I can see as it moves things, carries things and scents, rustles as it moves. But I can’t see it. As they always say: the wind is invisible, we can’t see the wind, we can only sense the wind through its direct consequences. It is only revealed in the rippling waters, the rustling leaves, a fluttered skirt, messy hair, the whistling sound as it blows among the pillars, the caress as it touches our skin. As we can clearly tell, the wind moves. In our primary experience, we sense its movement. Its sight doesn’t disturb as. Because it has none. Wind has nothing to do with seeing. As I am painting the invisible, my painting has nothing to do with visuality. I am painting the wind, not its image. I can paint – and not illustrate – best what I cannot see. This makes the painter happy: no likeness to be recreated that would disturb my vision. I must pay attention to other things. The presence. Its presence in the space. The movement, the continuity, the flow that fill the space. Space and wind are surely identical in one aspect: they are both invisible. Although, we have tools to show what space is. We have several methods in painting to achieve this. But for now, let’s choose the most puritan, reserved, clear approach. White canvas, black material and one tool of our choosing. Forget the colours and tones and unnecessary equipment. But choose a big surface. Big enough to invoke the brush to move. Big enough to allow the brush to flow and match the speed of the wind blowing above the canvas. My hand moves in the wind. Moves with it, in the same direction or against it. This is how material is distributed on the white surface. And if I do well, a space is created on the canvas. Instead of paint, I can now see the space where the air moves, where wind stirs. While I paint, I become part of the painting’s space. I don’t have to peek out from it or look up at the horizon, I am in the painting. And either way, I would not be able to see a thing. But we are in it now. I, in the space of the painting, and the painting, in the wind. I painted it around me. I painted space. Wind. I am painting something but the paint itself does not matter – it’s that something among the black lines. It moves. The thing that moves in the space. The immaterial, the weightless, the scentless, the colourless, the bodiless. But it is real. And I painted it.BACK