The Darkland Sketches
06 Jun – 16 Aug 2014
The Darkland Sketches is an exhibition about painting, about viewing and perceiving life through the eyes of the painter. It is painting noir, a crime novel without a plot but with a lot of casualties, misinterpretations, failed and desperate actions, a drama between light and darkness, empty monochrome surfaces and broken colours. A game of destiny, mythology and personal existence. It is Ulysses tied to the mast to resist the song of the sirens or Orpheus struggling to bring his beloved back from the land of the dead. It is Dante on his way through Purgatory, it is poetry for the poets transforming nothing into everything, the dust of words into solid form and light. It is the fire and ashes of life, it is trash, the piled up heaps and remnants of the charred moments of life, it is longings and attempts to understand why we are here, it is shining moments of ecstatic coherence and beauty.
It is attempts to create what Garcia Lorca writes about in his essay “Theory and Play of the Duende”: “Those dark sounds are the mystery, the roots that cling to the mire that we all know, that we all ignore, but from which comes on a definition of the duende: a mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.”
It is also a closely defined job, to solve the possibilites of painting and its specific geometry. It is finding cracks where the light gets in (L.C.), it is challenging the viewer, where the painter himself is the first to push forward the image through vision. It is a flood, a cloudburst of catastrophes, to paint is a journey through one’s own existence, to be confronted with one’s own weaknesses and embarrassing ideas, an endless attempt to step into the unknown, to loose oneself in order to find oneself. It is also to step into time, to be in the moment, to follow the light throughout the day, to become hypnotized by fluttering shadows, to get lost and drown in an inspiration that can be paralyzing in its beauty, like an ecstatic drug, to become obsessed with as yet unseen paintings and possibilities. It is also time, the time that disappears and go out with a gleam, it is those losses in which we are in the end consumed by death and darkness, it is the epic drama between darkness and light, between life and death. Anything else would be a lie and an insult to the viewer, to let him waste his time on trivial matters and emptiness. To paint is, like all artistic endeavours, trying to transform ashes to earth, to understand the longing and mystery our consciousness finds in daily life, in those remnants that technology has not yet conquered. It is learning how to see, like Rilke says in Malte Laurids Brigge, to let things and the world silently enter our consciousness, it is the structures behind the banalities that keep our minds awake.
The darkland is a place in our consciousness where all impressions go to, a kind of memory for our senses, it is a place where remembrances are stored, where defeats and victories flow together in the ocean that we are, it is the place we come from, in this passing, disappearing now.
Kehnet Nielsen Lottenborg 23 May 2014