Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unfinished Works

"Sometimes it may happen that a speculative artist may, by his own eccentricity, think out for himself some new method in Alchemy, be the consequence anything or nothing. He need do nought in order to reduce something into nothing, and again bring back something out of nothing. Yet this proverb of the incredulous is not wholly false. Destruction perfects that which is good; for the good cannot appear on account of that which conceals it. The good is least good whilst it is thus concealed. The concealment must be removed that so the good may be able freely to appear in its own brightness. For example, the mountain, the sand, the earth, or the stone in which a metal has grown is such a concealment. Each one of the visible metals is a concealment of the other six metals."

Paracelsus - Coelum philosophorum

Paddling towards siren shores.

Collecting the yeast of urns from distant star-beaches.

Hurry love.

Not now, I am evaporating.

Famine! Famine!

Searching for warty toads at the bottom of the waters that flooded the summit in spring-time.

Getting out of the oyster bed (before the page).

Taking the dead end of metaphor.

I have made numerous pencil sketches that were abandoned before their ideas were outlined in their entirety or had grown to a full motive. On a whim I transferred some of these unfinished sketches more or less randomly from white papers to papers with structured backgrounds.

During this process it often happened that the "unfinishedness" as by magic was drastically removed from the visual appearance. Forms took up my hints and began to tell a story, or started to break down the motive. The ones showed here became alive to me. But since the sketches neither were properly "finished" according to my original thought nor deterred totally from what was vaguely intended to be there, I played around with the idea of expressing the process of transformation in terms of a "negation of the negation", or akin to how psychoanalysis manages to outline the structure of the unconscious by projecting the ideas of lack and desire upon it.

Because from this dialectic an agreeable analogy seem to present itself. Namely that the transformation of the images come to display features of the original "non-element" at another level of meaning. (From the Paracelsus quote, I even constructed the phrase "unconcealing the incomplete features" for the process, thereby alluding both to how the matter embedding the metal ores is removed and to the sense of precognition which is involved in creation.)

The new level of meaning referred to remains, I would think, qualitatively percieved as the artist´s familliar sense of animistic euphoria, as when the work suddenly becomes alive and other. But the further implication of this change is that the artist´s dethronement or removal is actually suggested, since the suspicion that "thought is flowing forth directly from material reality" begin to make its glorious claim. This gets me back to why the drawings were abandoned to begin with: it can often be very tedious to have do all the thinking, planning and manual labour for oneself.



  1. These are great! And, maybe I'm fooling myself, but some effects are of the kind of the simple ghost-invoking alchemy of double-exposure, which I just watched when finding a page at the London Freud museum about an Ian Walker exhibition there a few years ago

  2. Thanks,

    as for method, I translated and added a log-text.


  3. Amazing work. Beautifully poetic and disturbing!

    Thank you!

    Patrick Hourihan.