A few words on my artistic philosophy

I’m interested in the symbol as non-linguistic entity. I believe language and figuration are opposed to each other and that the symbol is closer to the abstraction than it is to signification. The premise for my work can be understod as in opposition to the assumption that the symbol is a form of language, or language like, and not rarely imagined as a cruder form of language. In actuality, the symbol is closer to reality than the linguistic habit, which is artificial in kind. The symbol holds a kind of truth ‘communicated’, if not by way of re-presentation but presentation.

We might say that the symbol is the presentation of a content, which means, how a content is perceived by bodily senses. (Like this: if we see a car from above it appears to be a floating rectangle but if we see it from the ground it is revealed to be a rolling machine, the floating rectangle, in the example, is the car as symbol. And so it’s not something separate from the car that ‘re-presents’ it (language), the symbol is identical to the car, albeit perceived in a particular way.) What content in this case is, cannot be articulated in language, which is what makes it so wondrous. As a clarification though, so as not to be too mystical, we might imagine life as we perceive it as being a symbolic presentation of meaning.

In contemporary culture we lean more or less entirely upon language, for knowledge, for identity, for communication. However, language is merely a function to ‘re-present’ perception, and so we can, in that sense, understand language as empty: it is made from perception and signifies perception (this holds true according to the more complex non-referential understanding of language as well). This means a kind of circular reasoning we’re conveniently disregarding, as well as a ‘homo mensura-limit’, i.e., a taking for granted that the human senses (and possible extensions in their likeness) can act as the measure of reality.

In fact, language is perceived reality made into a game of scrabble. Put differently: language lack meaningfulness (symbols don’t).The confusion of it being otherwise has led to the contemporary human condition; not least the existential philosophies are guided by the dependency upon language paired with the realization of its emptiness (thus confusing what is true for language with what is true for life). Those are indeed — though perhaps indirectly — mistakes based on the premise and assumption that language has the power to explain and define life in a manner that we may depend upon. The removal of that assumption is the way we retrieve the irrefutable meaningfulness of life.

The sketch of an argument above can be reduced to the insight that humanity has confused meaning with signification. Signification means a negative form of meaning – inverted as it were – because it is a function of ‘this because not that’. Nature, however, functions in a manner of ‘this because that’. In practical terms, this means that while, as a part of nature, we co-exist because of each other (e.g. if bees die out, humanity does too, etc.). In linguistic terms, we exist by separation from each other; rather that codependency, my language based identity is built upon not being like you and with this follows a value difference, quit naturally: I’m right, you’re wrong, good vs. bad, different forms of domination, and so on.

Indeed, all of our problems of getting along can be traced back to this split we all embody – we’re stuck in a desire for inclusion and separation simultaneously. Needless to say, this manmade paradox cannot be resolved as long as we put all this faith in language and its function. We must continually make a choice: inclusion or separation, resulting in a life of oscillation between the two. It is in the light of these circumstances that the act of drawing and painting (and other forms of art) can be truly subversive in the realm of humans and their ideologies, at least as long as it is protected from the devaluing and ‘linguistifying’ effects of interpretation and explanation. It means a manmade paradox which (as opposed to language) is not inverted in relation to nature, but extends it. Art is life larger than life.

Art has the potential to combine presence, wonder and the fulfillment of that human desire for expansion, play and creativity. As such it answers a genuinely essential need. It is as if a secret realm opens up and everybody is equally welcome, however language – knowledge and identity – must be left at the door. We enter naked as ourselves or not at all.