L’Être et le néant.

“Being = Nothingness”, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, 2017.

My painting tribute to Sartre (Existentialism), and to Kazimir Malevich (Suprematism): “L’Être = le néant”, 40 x 40 cm., oil on canvas, 2017, Adam Donaldson Powell.

I was so proud after having finally struggled through the abstractions of Sartre’s «L’Être et le néant» as a young man. But alas I then shortly afterwards saw a news documentary on him where he dismissed much of the importance of the book. I was devastated — selfishly so, but still … I get it.

When Dr. Santosh Kumar published his amazing literary criticism of my own literary output I was shocked and embarrassed. It is easier to fight for recognition than to have that rebellious creative instinct squashed by general acceptance and praise. Since then, I have learned that many great innovative and free-thinking authors and artists were/are creative and reactive experimenters rather than geniuses who have discovered «truths embedded in historical stone for an Eternity.» We create as a means of survival in a world which we often are out of tempo with. We need the constant resistance that keeps our creative adrenalin going, as well as a flow of new ideas, new visions and new ways to re-create ourselves … Yes, almost as if our very survival is dependent upon it.

Authors and artists have the right to disassociate themselves even from our own publicly acclaimed “masterpieces”. Just think of how Beethoven cringed at hearing amateurs perform his popular ditties everywhere he went. “Fur Elise”, “Moonlight Sonata” … etc. Nonetheless, I still love the literature of Sartre, Camus, Leduc, Proust, Kafka, Genet etc. — even though I now see their “genius” in the perspective of the times in which they lived, thought and worked.

Verily, we are not primarily artists or authors, but rather Thinkers who use art and literature as a framework to temporarily frame and exhibit the sea of existentialism in which we all float, swim, drown and think. Embracing the concepts voiced by Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir etc. gives us all the treasured «condemnation to be free». Truly, we are mainly thought, consciousness and Spirit. The rest is meaningfully NON-existent.

— Adam Donaldson Powell

«In irony a man annihilates what he posits within one and the same act; he leads us to believe in order not to be believed; he affirms to deny and denies to affirm; he creatives a positive object but it has no being other than its nothingness.»
— Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

«Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without “things” (that is, the “time-tested well-spring of life”).»
— Kasimir Malevich, The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism

«The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.
— Kasimir Malevich

homage to malevich
Tribute to Malevich (Oil on canvas).
Emptiness giving birth to Nothingness, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm.
Letting go (of love).
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”).

the making of a poet
Dr. Santosh Kumar’s book on the poetry of Adam Donaldson Powell.


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