The human tendency to arrange elements in a framework fulfils the need for clear boundaries to determine the way one thinks and behaves. With the use of internal measuring rods we categorise everyday intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli by interpreting and evaluating them according to a system of exclusion. For the last 15 years I have been captivated by the potential of art to break through this maintained and self-regulating pattern. A revitalised way at looking at one’s internal or external environment may result in a renewed awareness, insight and re-evaluation of previously encapsulated experiences and points of view. Art’s direction, evolvement and flexibility is highly influenced by our universal inclination to classify and categorise what we see and experience.
Contemporary art that is experimental or innovative often summons disapproving comments. Confronted with contemporary art, people throughout history have haughtily asked the same question: “is this supposed to be art?” Raised eyebrows and coughs of disapproval conferred upon artworks we now use for measurement to judge artworks of our own time. It is fascinating to observe art critics, the art world and the ‘cultural elite’ in constant pursuit and effort to locate and encapsulate the latest Wild Beast to paint a label of ‘ART’ on its back. Driven by the ambition to be labelled as innovative and groundbreaking, some artists seem to continuously put all their effort into creating monstrous, complicated and inaccessible beasts. The majority of this output is, of course, unlikely to gain a position in the canon of art history. In the end only a hand full of artworks will stand the test of time and be established as counterpoints; becoming icons of artistic achievement reflecting a certain age and generation. Since there seem to be no universally considered criteria anymore, it is hard to say whether this will be based on inherent physical or perceptible qualities and aesthetics of the work (if any), the skill, mastery or intention of the artist, or the ideas (or value) a cultural elite applies to it.
As an art student I had an over ambitious drive to playfully explore the boundaries of art and to provoke people to re-evaluate their assumptions and definition by alluring them into unknown territory. As my development as an autonomous artist progressed outside the walls of the art academy, I discovered that this ambition was narrowing down rather than expanding my artistic journey. As an artist today, I want to distinguish myself from the prestigious frontiers of the avant garde by avoiding being hemmed-in by contemporary hype and current crazes by drawing upon earlier, ‘old-fashioned’ traditions. Many of my works have benefited from previous encapsulations and definitions of art, synthesising different influences that have been of personal importance in my life: art, movies, music, comics, mythology, poems, stories, a woman with a thousand faces. Reflecting on the world around me through art feels most natural and sincere when I allow myself total freedom to jumble with characteristics of the species that have already been branded. I have learned that it is much more challenging, worthwhile and intensifying to deepen any of my involvements and commitments by finding new life and new meaning in what has apparently already been established. If this goes for love, it must go for art as well.