an e-mail project by Karin Sander
How I see the cadences in the gently swaying, lightly slapping rustle of the leaves here in the midst of the olive and pistachio trees, drowned out now and then by the large palm leaves high up, so high that in their winds they also touch the waves of the Aegean. And how I touch the water, which, led in lines from the depths of the universe, the distant eye mirrors, embraces me. “While fishing the water comes,” writes the Greek poet Odysseas Elitis, while seeing we walk to the trough of origin that eyes us, a non-violent magic like a maelstrom released into movement with a certain hesitance, procrastinating in utter joy, set swirling, held, continued, overtaking itself again in the lines as if no impetus were required either from thought or from seeing, as if the pencil laid itself in the soul of the paper, of its slinking hand-guided progress in this emerging world of shore and expanse, safe, quite safe, as the movement allows the touch, lets it endure in what has just been, has just happened, when the eye was moistened in the water by the blue of the universe. The invoking, mounting breath.
We look neither up nor down, the reed reclines in all directions. Le Roseau pensant, the thinking reed, as Agnes Martin translates the metaphor for human existence coined by Pascal, Blaise Pascal. The movement of the reed, swaying in the breath of the lake, slinks through the images and moves the gaze continually, repeatedly. The reed has replaced man, still present formerly in the large oil pastels and paintings of the 1980s as an observer hidden in mourning, fallen into time and now taken out of the figure, abandoning the faces and, like an echo retracting into the stone, kneeling fragile in the detours of the lines. Here in the powerful oil pastels it is furrows that let the ground be seen and flow in a ramified weave of veins without ever perishing, wasting away. The veins clear the way for the gaze. The grounding constitutes the image, lays the base – all water needs ground – the makes a track of the plain.
The Atomists called perception an optical ray, the lines an arcade of sensation, as if the line, doing happily without the figure, was strutting indiscriminately from seeing to being seen, sometimes as a funambulist, a tight-rope walker, dancing the choreography of the abeyance, there where all emptiness announces a coming, and every fall speaks not of doom but of becoming. The line advances to itself, it encircles itself in the point, the semeion, the seed, the point is not a motionless sign, but a sign of no movement, as Paul Klee wrote, still holding all movement latently. The point plucks at the line, shivering it hovers like a tiny water strider above all surfaces, putting a beginning to each end. And there in the line the face passes, no longer interpreting the world and no longer being interpreted by anyone, in the freedom of the no one, spilling out all identity onto the page in a line exultantly. And now, as in a tender touch, the slightly wavering line embraces the vastness as an island, the island into the vastness, something internal rises to embrace the external, no distance applies any more, and the line reaches no proximity any more, as it itself extends everything we call distance and proximity into the moment and grants that moment, that optical ray, that arcade, a permanence that hollows out time, takes away future and past from time, as a gift, or should I say like the line releases time from its conditions, peels it down to the nucleus of the receptacle of eternal nowness.
The duration still continues in the suddenness of the ceased line, in the scattered points, sperm. These signs, reflection of eternal duration – the duration of suddenness – are aware of one another, nothing can stop them in their movement, drawn into timeless time, images drawn past. When duration is not subject to any time, it is suddenness and eternity in one, freed of the burden of any promise and any decay. Only here can a line fall upwards, upwards despite its gravity, as if the line were turning the ground towards the sky and the firmament towards the ground. “Further down than I, always further down that I, is the water”, writes Francis Ponge. “I always view it with lowered eyes, like a modification of the ground …”. The water bears the burden of the ground, the vice of gravity. It has at its disposal “extraordinary means of indulging that vice: circumventing, piercing, eroding, filtering.” The line cuts its path to obey gravity and to assert no form, the line wrenches itself from all form and assertion, and yet it forms. It forms, as it were, formlessly. The line bears its own paradox within like a rivulet that flows upwards. “One could almost say, water is insane”, to cite Ponge again, “because of this hysterical need to obey only its gravity, with which it is obsessed as if by a fixed idea.”
Then in the recovery room (German: Aufwachraum, wake up room) the water trickles, it trickles upwards and downwards, it constantly seeps through. Auf Wach Raum – Raum Wach Auf (wake up room – room wake up), as if it were we who, surrounded by water, open the lid. We are part of the room, but no gravity displaces us. Now, seeing, we are surrounded by the room and by water, but the water appears in the room – it blues. Where am I? The water breathes and, still in the wake up room, I rise up on the breath like a whale, a whale like a mountain – Mont Ventoux – and the lines criss-cross to carry me as a whale out of this whiff of breath. Breathing is seeing, breathing is the touch of the elements. The lid is open, I am not awake, I am in the wake up room and in that room I lie, I stand, be it on my feet or on my head, a drop of water as light as a whale, as light as a breath. No gravity exists in the world that the line could not carry. Now I am, open lidded, the threshold to weightlessness, the whale a cloud and the lines usher me between heaven and earth to where perhaps memory lies, mare memoriae.
Or perhaps, perhaps there is no more memory in the wake up room, perhaps it has moved into the points and the lines and into the emptiness, and all that has given up its form, its figure, given it over to the soul of the paper, to the spirit of the ground, to the trough of origin. Here in the wake up room memory has, as it were, floated away – dérivé. The French word dérive or dérivage or dérivé means flowing out, redirecting, but also bursting its banks, escalating, the ecstasies of the Surrealists, the psycho-geographies of the Situationists – dériver, to divert away from the origins. Something like that befalls me in the wake up room, a trance of origins, when I pluck at the line with my gaze and the line takes up the gaze as my request and desire, embraces the gaze and from out of the line lets me experience the room that surrounds me, the drawing.
Be it metamorphosis or metempsychosis, already the I can no longer be spoken, nor a self be present any more, now shape stands beside shape, they do not become one, they cannot become one, yet they know of one another, they know of their states, they know of their belonging to the room traversed by lines, the room created by lines.
“Oh God, how much blue do you use so that I cannot see you?” asks the poet Odysseas Elitis.
That is the art of powerlessness, in these states that still breathe silence in the swirls and whirls, the line sets out to the world and the world coalesces. Close to completion in the custody of the line, this miracle of art happens, a miracle that wants to signify nothing more than its own powerlessness, sublime above the conflict of things and of men, passed through the line on the ground of the leaf, in the soul of the paper and in the seeing of the lid-bearer.
Hubertus v. Amelunxen
Translated from German by Pauline Cumbers
anbei ein Text über einen Zeichnungszyklus eines Künstlers.
Ich bin gespannt auf das, was kommt und grüße Dich herzlich,