Montag, 29. November 2010

Thoughts for Painting Grey

notes by Dagmar I. Glausnitzer

(original text in German 2008, translated by Dagmar I. Glausnitzer in December 2009)

„ the inevitable is unknown or to discover conditions of obstinate layers”

The grey paintings happened during the days when my father was in the Hospice. He died on December 26, 2008 at 10:50 pm holding my hand.

During one of my visits to the Hospice, on a day in November 2008, he had been crying all day. His tears were flowing down his jaws without stopping. It was a foggy day and the colour on his face had vanished. He said: I have to leave you. He had never talked to me before about leaving but on that day, he knew that he would never go back home. The word ‘leaving’ gained another dimension and he was sure to face it. It was on this day in November when only the breath of nature determined what had to follow.

There was a thought, which I had not forgotten: during my journeys through India, I experienced: that which is being desired will not be fulfilled. The flow of life always takes a different turn against one’s own predetermined plan. Now, again my thoughts of what to say or do during the visit in the Hospice became entangled in concrete and material expectations.

This time my father once more taught me an important lesson: when I brought to him my intentions, they became obsolete. This meant that my personal plan can not acknowledge the world in its present setting of circumstances. The road will be swept free only without the desire for fulfilment and in preparation for an unknowable price. The indeterminate continues in life without the investment that expectations can be fulfilled and satisfaction achieved. My father knew that day, that he had to be ready to enter what appeared to be grey.

The colour grey is a threshold. Seems like dying. Seems like leaving colours behind. Inside the layers of grey, the colours have retreated. Pigments hide behind each tone of the variants in grey. Still, grey is actuality and presence. Grey has the potentiality of each and every existent colour. Grey is the movement between here and there, and unlike red, it is impossible to hold on to grey. Red has the clarity of being alone and thorough. But grey is as clear as mud, it escapes its definition. The colour grey refuses its name.

Grey, because the surfaces allow the light to penetrate through indifferent layers in search for colours.

Abstract, because the material has been freed therein, has been dissolved from the known and dispensed from that which has been recognized. The Abstraction is the threshold to an unimaginable reality.

The abundance of colour is the eternal difference and without comparison, grey is removed from the experience of acknowledgment. Only a veil, like a stubborn layer is visible of what is yet to be discovered beneath it. Grey is a layer, which binds itself to the undefined. Grey is the unity of all colours, like a dominant shadow. What might appear invisible because of the ways of perception, logic continues to strive for the material and ways to determine the colour.

Every thinkable colour becomes grey. Principally the colour grey is a mix of white and black and within it are uncountable tones between light and dark. His tears were the tones between here and there. The original palette of black and white is a position of clarity, unambiguous simplicity (can white or black be simple?); it has the potential of manifold but also bears the outset for the indeterminate layers of grey.

The first studies in oil probe the origin of grey and the movement in mixing amounts and shades. Perhaps in the end there was a similarity to ideas of mountain and water. But these analogies only occur in the imagination of the observer, and still they influence the process.

I have to look out of the window and contemplate the fog, the darkened trees and the landscape, which disappear in undefined clouds.

The grey disappointed the abstract for a moment.

© glausnitzer-smith Germany 2008-2009

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