In a few weeks I will have a solo exhibition. I decided to use these drifts to dig into my artistic being. I feel an urge to tie up some loose ends and clean up the messy relationship I have with the field. I see it as psychotherapy sessions where art becomes a partner I lived with for the last 10 years. We have a few things to talk about. It is also a good moment while I am working on the last bits of the exhibition. To provide a little context, this upcoming show will be somewhat a self portrait, a slice of time I am in, which I metaphorically translate into visual manifestations and real life encounters with the audience.
It has been a while since I showed my work in the context of an art space. I did a few side projects in the past year but being fully embedded in a gallery space feels rather unusual. We picked up a date long time ago, way back when I didn’t even know I will be doing the IM project and my practice would take another turn. After I shut down diptych and Ludo & Hedo I decided to test the waters and explore how I would feel in an art context after my experiential endeavours. The most logical thing to do when I exited the gastronomic field is to return to art. It feels comfy and familiar, I know more or less how it works, I know people, people know my name. I am loyal, hard working and responsible. My aesthetic compass is well attuned, I can feel the space and am not afraid of challenges. I can talk about art in simple ways but can build high brow conceptual framework. I’ve been to residencies and exposed my work in various institutions. I teach at art academy and have my website up to date. Sounds not too bad but isn’t it? But what about the feeling of aliveness that comes with the work?
What about the discomfort, the unknown, pushing the boundaries, failing, misunderstandings, not liking, not accepting, struggles, passion, the desire to create and many many other beautiful emotions and feelings that come together with the process? For a while I felt very much deprived of all of these. I missed the joy and lightness, the ability to wonder in not knowing, giving in without reservations, get hurt, frustrated and stuck. Beautiful facets of the creation process. My default mode wasn’t only hijacking my life but also hijacking my art. Becoming aware of my artist default mode led me to exit the system for a while in order to find the joy back. Or better put, find joy, anything that will bring the life back and take away cynicism and defensiveness, a poisonous river that runs in the art world, as i experienced it on me and others. It never really clicked with me, being part of the art world. Having a vast structure around something as fluid and free as art seemed counterproductive. My spirit feels restricted in set boundaries and it resulted in my desire to break those boundaries and disrupt whatever system I was in in the particular moment.
It is very fulfilling to look back and reflect upon the works I made and being able to see the drivers behind them in a more conscious way. Besides the joy, which I experienced a lot in my practice, there was so much fight with some sort of limitations that thought I had to concur, so much resistance, fear and pressure. It is truly fascinating how following something that we think we want can take us further away from the actual desire. Until the point when we completely lose the connection and end up living an image that is being self-constructing in parallel. The lesson from this experience that we should be really really careful and aware about the choices we make. Quick choice making, saying yes to everything, peer pressure, FOMO, prestige and fashion, all of these mostly lead to decisions that are made under a hypnotic spell and have little to do with what we can, want or will do well. Easy alterations to the routine can be made though, like never say yes to something before sleeping on it or limit social media use etc. Try saying no to everything that comes in, is a famous exercise that can help to clarify our own desires and separate signal from noise.
This drift feels rather unfinished and fragmented. I am preparing ground for new thoughts and relationships with art to take place. I will probably hang out with memories and reflections for the following days, so bare with me while I get to the point when the Phoenix will rise once again.