In June of last year I was sitting in a Café in Mitte, Berlin, watching people pass by. I observed something in a face… I can’t describe it as a picture, what I saw. It was almost like an inner face… an inner surface, like a second skin. This skin was closed. I saw it with my belly.
And then I saw that ‘closed’ layer in a few other people. I asked myself if I projected this onto them or if it was ‘real’. It was like a closed wall. I recognised this closed layer from my own mother.
’Close it off, sweep it under the carpet, put something over it and a vase with pretty flowers on top.’
That’s why it resonates with me and I see it. I can only see it, because I understand it. If I didn’t know it personally, I wouldn’t see. It is like a hidden shadow; a shadow that is hidden behind a light which doesn’t shine.
When I got back to my studio in Cape Town I found four wooden boards waiting under my table. They had been waiting there for almost three years. I took an axe – one of those long handle axes – and thought: What an appropriate tool for a German to draw with… and started cutting.
It was a purely intuitive process. I started very gently, almost timidly, with the first board. After I warmed up, the cutting and chopping became easier. It accelerated and I was exhilarated. The piece burst into 2 pieces.
With the second and third boards I went even deeper into the surface, each time right through. While I was penetrating through the third piece it struck me. I pierced through something… In German I’d say “Ich habe etwas durchdrungen”. The force and desire to cut through those
pieces of wood was coming from deep down, went through me and right through the material. That’s why I call them Durchdringungen. I recognised and could relate to this layer, because I have it within me. I didn’t have to go through the fourth piece anymore. It started flowing.
The only way to show this shadow is through my own shadow.
I protect the flame. And I am carrying the torch further.
I acknowledge the past, try to see it, try to recognise it.
I open my wound, I show my wound. Something starts flowing. My creative energy flows through me and out of me…it purges out of me.
Everything is flowing.
I take off with both feet firm on the ground. My eyes look straight forward and nothing holds me back.
I see my work as an expansion of the very space they are within.
The spatial effect stretches into another space. It carries one into another dimension. I believe that all art should do that. I do it very directly with geometric space constructions. It’s like a dream world I’m building…a spiritual reality. I can see it… but maybe it’s an illusion… or something else. It seems as if… but then it is different… stays always different. A realistic illusion. You can see it if you like but you don’t have to.
References: Joseph Beuys “Schütze die Flamme”
Anselm Kiefer “Remembering the Future”