13 Oct 06 by Hanjo Schmidt
Of course it's interesting watching an artist at work. I myself like to watch when craftsmen are doing their work with that incredible dexterity and knowledge. Or I like to visit plants to find out how all these complicated things are put together. This is one side. The other side is that I need to be alone while at work. I can't stand people watching. They are disturbing that silent dialogue I do with the painting. And as de Kooning mentioned 90% of the work is watching what you have done so far and contemplating. This would be disrupted by having to talk to or have to take care of somebody. So while painting my studio is kind of a hermitage. The size of a painting is an important thing therefore I like to put something comparable near to it when taking a photo. For example me for I am always at hand. And I like to show some details for what looks like a portrait from the distance turns into kind of an abstract landscape from nearby. And this is where one can see the dialogue. Different times obviously develop different speeds in looking at something. That means that for example in the 19th century the impressionists, first of all Monet, spend lots of time on looking at their object. And looking today at one of his paintings say one of the cathedral of Rouen takes some time too for to get all the nuances that alltogether make this incredible depiction of light. So the speed was slow. Nowadays it seems that our speed is that of videoclips. One can be happy if one gets the depicted object. A house, a tree, a dog etc. No details, no contemplation just information. In my paintings I want to slow down down down. That's why I love Joyce who needed 1000 pages to describe 18 hours of a single day with nothing dramatic hapening in his Ulysses. That's one of the problems I still haven't found a solution for how to make a viewer rest his or her eyes on a painting longer than just for a jiffy.
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