Toxique : “C’est parfois dur d’être gentil. “
ART IS SOMETIMES TOXIC AND CONTROVERSIAL — BECAUSE IT GIVES US NEW WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE MUNDANE. TOXIC ART IS NOT REALLY NICE. WHY SHOULD IT BE? AFTER ALL, IN DAILY LIFE IT IS SOMETIMES QUITE DIFFICULT TO BE NICE (“C’est parfois dur d’être gentil.”). AT MOMENTS, “TOXIQUE” IS VERY SEXY:
“Something is a work of art when it has filled its role as therapy for the artist. I don’t care about the audience. I’m not working for the audience. The audience is welcome to take what they can.”
“Toxique / Toxic”, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, is an abstract painting which uses colourfield and geometric styles to induce feelings of the “disgusting” which is beautiful. Here “the disgusting” is created by color combinations and the dizziness of the geometric images seemingly twirling about in atmospheric bile. The painting gives a sense of elegance in its overall balance and technical precision, while at the same time requiring quiet acceptance of discomfort.
Letting go (of love), 40×40 cm., oil on canvas is about the process of trying to move on — without a loved one. The memories of that person become blurred, the pain is romanticised, the sense of betrayal and anger gradually become replaced by arrogant self-pity and then denial that love ever was (in fact) mutual. Solace and personal redemption are found written as graffiti on the wall — in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: “We are condemned to be free” (here in Spanish: “Estamos condenados a ser libres”).
Fishing net embracing glowing bits of plastic, 40×40 cm, oil on canvas: This abstract painting is about environmental problems related to pollution of the seas — both with waste such as plastic, but also with abandoned fishing nets. The colourful plastic attracts fishes, which consume it. And humans as well are attracted to that which glitters … and which ultimately leads to destruction.
“Wanted: for breaking the rules of Art and Writing!”, self-portrait, 65×90 cm., oil on canvas, 2018
“Talking heads / Social media”, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, 2018, is all about “the buzz” of the hive (slander and gossip, #hatersgonnahate, #lookatme etc.) in black and white.
“I think that art is the ability to show and tell what it means to be alive. It can powerfully visualize, textualize and/or musicalize your experience of the world, and there are a million ways to do it. I have trouble with categories; I don’t even think high culture, low culture. I just think it’s one broad cultural life, and all these different ways of showing and telling are in that. I do know just the idea that because something’s in a gallery, instantly it’s art, whereas something somewhere else is not art, is silly and narrow. I’m not interested in narrowing definitions.”
“Le jeune homme et la mort”, 65×90 cm., oil on canvas. This is my re-interpretation of Cocteau’s idea for the famous ballet. See my notes about this HERE!
“Faceless animus” asks us who much we really know another person, and how much we really want to know — the stereotypical or racial countenance … or the faceless animus that lies behind it?
Freelance curator and author of ‘Art on the Edge and Over — Searching for Art’s Meaning in Contemporary Society 1970’s-1990’s.’
“When you think about art, you have to think about life. If art doesn’t sensitize us to something in the world, clarify our perceptions, make us aware of the decisions we have made, it’s entertainment.”
“Entre Nous et Eux”, oil on canvas, 90×65 cm. is about keeping a frozen smile and trying to remain “politically correct” in a Western world that is literally under “cultural attack” by the sheer numbers of refugees and immigrants, and further complicated by European countries’ relative naivité and unpreparedness for multiculturism. It is therefore that the background resembles the Norwegian, Czech, Russian, French, Dutch, British, US etc. flags with the red, white and blue colours … but which are are increasingly inundated with falling leaves which eventually become lively foreign objects, cultures, traditions, religions etc. — and all the while with more and more persons competing for celebrity, money, resources, ideologies and power etc. It symbolises an irreversible shift in cultural and social values and traditions, and the tensions churning and burning underneath. It is about the new “n-word” which is socially and legally forbidden to express in public forums. The penalty is being stamped as “a racist”, and prosecution.
Miniature series — This miniature oil painting series is comprised of 18 small paintings (15×15 cm and 20×20 cm), which have various contemporary themes, including fame and death, love gained and lost, climate change, moving on in Life, #metoo, terror, sex, emotional vampires, nuclear storm weather forecasts and more. The paintings include: 1) “Endless Winter/Climate change”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018; 2) “Spleen – love dissolving”, 20×20 cm., oil on canvas, 2018; 3) “Roses and a teardrop for Las Ramblas”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. This miniature abstract painting was inspired by the terror attack upon the people at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It depicts a rose-floral wallpaper-like background with a line/queue that is broken — interrupted by a single teardrop; 4) “Trou de la gloire/Gaufres bleues; Oui, l’amour est bleu … et la véritable gloire est un trou dans un mur qui s’effrité, («Gloryhole/Blue waffles; Yes, love is blue … and real glory is a hole in a crumbling wall»)”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. I accidentally stumbled over photos of “blue waffles” on the Internet. They were so disgusting and glorious that I had to challenge myself to interpret the magnificent phenomenon; 5) “Ghosts no. 1 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018; 6) “Ghosts no. 2 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018; 7) “Love between vampires: Yeah, Baby — let’s tear off a piece! (L’amour entre les vampires: Viens m’enculer!)”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. Whether our needs for giving and receiving love bring out the vampire or the angel in us, it is all an expression of our evolving humanity; 8) “Niqab — of love and fetish in an age of terror”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. Keywords: niqab, AK47, roses, blood, hidden passion, discomforting eyes, risks, fetish, love, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018; 9) “Pissing on our parade”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. “Pissing on our parade”, is a commentary on gay violence — i.e. violence, murder and terror committed both by and against gays. LGBTQ-persons are “people”, and prone to the same problems and personality issues as all others in society. However, whenever an LGBTQ-person commits an act of terror (Orlando), sexual violence and harassment (by the way, these harassments are seldom investigated as #metoo, or even hate crimes), murder plus cannibalism, or other acts that feel like a violation of what many consider to be basic humane and civilised values, it feels as embarrassing to me as a gay person as muslims must feel when yet another act of hate-inspired terrorism is committed in the name of Islam. It is also embarrassing to me as a human and as a soul in active incarnation. These individuals — regardless of whether they are disturbed, or just hateful — are pissing on our parade. Keywords: pissing, parade, #stopthebleeding, wounded hearts, rainbow, #stopthehate; 10) “Silence.”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. “Silence.” is about the news and important information that we do not receive, or that is kept hidden from us by politicians, corporations, scientists and the mainstream media. It is also about what most of us are thinking but do not talk about due to social controls on thoughts, speech and actions. Silence should be a beautiful thing — a reprieve from the noise of everyday life and stress … but sometimes the silence is something to be feared. When we fear it, silence is the new noise; 11) “White Noise.”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. “White Noise” is about the constant chatter of mainstream media — spitting out and vomiting the same news stories ad nauseum; in all newspapers, radio and television stations, on the internet … all over the world, 24 hours a day. The noise keeps us company when we are alone and trying to escape the silence of loneliness … and we eventually neither listen to nor hear the warnings, worries and hatred broadcasted and echoed from high and low. The noise is our new silence; 12) and 13) “Broken Hallelujah in the Landscape of Life.”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. “Broken Hallelujah in the Landscape of Life” interprets the crevices, rips, tears and shattering we all experience, expected or not; i.e. those moments and periods where our hopes and dreams, infatuations, marriages, friendships, ways of perceiving the world and other people etc. fall apart, unravel and demand re-adjustment — with new vision. Although often quite painful, these adjustments provide us with opportunities to re-invent and re-define ourselves. The choice is ours: to suffer for an indeterminate period of time … or to climb down from the cross and explore “the new”, seeking balance — with a positive sense of moderation.“Ariston metron!” (“Moderation is best!); 14) “#metoo: Men’s room — the writing on the players’ wailing wall”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. This graffiti painting reveals the angry and dissatisfied murmurings of some men on social media and (as here) on a men’s room wall. It is generally considered to be politically incorrect for men to voice concern over matriarchal feminism and the #metoo movement, and the fear of loss of basic rights for men. When these voices are restricted to hidden enclaves and not allowed to be measured and discussed openly then the ensuing negative consequences can be devastating. The frustrated graffiti text includes: matriarchy; man-haters; Fuck #metoo; Fuck no sex; men prefer 1) whores, 2) men, 3) sex dolls; custody rights; lonely; feminazi; dutch treat etc.; 15) and 16) “Weather forecast — Warning, High Probability of Nuclear Storm; Part One: Alert” and Part Two: Perfect Storm”, 15 x 15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. Perhaps the most immediate threat of annihilation of the planet and humanity is the threat of nuclear war and a serious nuclear accident. This work predicts a future where such threats becomes part of the weather and terror threat warning system. Colour code: yellow and black; the smoky grey background tells the rest of the story; 17) and 18) “Memento Mori — Fama (Starry Night)” and “Memento Mori — Damnatio Memoriae”, 15 x 15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018: These two simple, if not “pseudo-naïvistic”, paintings are about the naive personal quests for fame after death, i.e to live forever through our children’s or others’ minds — by way of recorded fame in this lifetime and myths; and the opposite and more likely reality: of being dead forever/being forgotten. In “Fama” the subtitle “Starry Night” functions as a Hollywood star reference as well as is a commentary about Vincent Van Gogh’s failure to achieve notoriety and artistic recognition before after his physical death. His own personal “starry night” is rather a quiet internal burning and ember-like glow — without spectacle. For artists, authors and musicians this notoriety is often established and maintained by way of representation, archives and mention in museum collections, published books, recordings, Wikipedia, the internet, history books etc. However, with ever-developing technology and increasing limited space in libraries and museums these hopes of living forever are being thwarted. For others who try to establish themselves as television hit show stars, as bloggers and as reality stars the goal is perhaps even more unattainable. We cannot take worldly acclaim with us to the afterlife, but to ensure that we still maintain a presence in this world after we leave it physically has been a dream of many for ages. The looming question is: “What is the purpose of Life and achieving notoriety — do we live for the ‘now’, or forever?” Another important question is “Should all art be made with the intention of it living forever; what is the value of temporary, performance and disposable art?” And of course, “Memento Mori — Damnatio Memoriae” reminds us that — should we fail to achieve lasting fame — we will not only remain “still dead” but we will disappear … forever, and without a trace, save possibly a short-lived grave and tombstone. These paintings comprise a series of miniature abstract oil paintings that are about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world because there is simply so much that seems out of our control and we must often pretend to be indifferent in order to survive from day to day.
SEE MORE OF MY PAINTINGS
**NB. Selected quotes from
The New York Times: “ART; Is It Art? Is It Good? And Who Says So?” (Interviews with art-world participants and observers on what is art, what is good art and who decides etc.).