A FORGOTTEN PATH TO OBLIVION

forgotten road
CHEMIN OUBLIÉ VERS L'OUBLI

pen and watercolour on paper
2012/2013 - 735 x 485 mm

DETAILS :

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WORK IN PROGRESS

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At first, this work was called 'Sanctuaries IV'. This was when I was still trying to create a series of sanctuaries. But a series is rather a set of common properties you notice in a finished group of works than something you plan to create, exceptions like the Five Rivers of Hades notwithstanding. To make things even more complicated: I still consider it a sanctuary, but I have abandoned the idea of creating a series of works called Sanctuaries I, II, XVII etc. I now prefer individual titles. Just like for the Labyrinths.

As usual I start to draw something on an empty sheet of paper and whilst drawing, forms and shapes appear in a kind of twofold vision. These are but suggestions, and when I choose not to add a certain shape or curl, it changes and I get a new pattern. This can be exciting to play with. Music also influences these 'patterns'. Often I am limited to a specific kind of music, like for example contemporary classical or dark ambient, and sometimes I can't bear any noise and work for days in absolute silence, except for the background of the cities' streetnoise. But this noise I don't hear whilst drawing. Just like I do not feel any cold.


The title contains a double bind because one has to be there already to make it a lost road towards forgetfulness. Yet, there are several levels of forgetting: we all forget something from time to time, usually when we're distracted; elderly people can suffer from short-time memory problems; a drug-addict or alcoholic can search for artificial paradises so as not have to face common reality anymore, etc etc...
The one I see in this work (afterwards, the title came afterwards and was not a chosen theme!) is very Baudelairean. Charles Baudelaire who wrote "Je veux dormir plutot que vivre, dans un sommeil aussi doux que la mort" (I want to sleep rather that to be awake, a sleep as soft as death." Many of us will find this weak, and escapist, while they themselves pass an important part of their lives in front of the television after spending a lot of time doing a mindless job. At home they are still chewing on what happened at work, and at work they can't stop thinking about home, holidays or what someone said to them.
Nearly no-one is really awake, but nearly everyone is convinced they are. This while mechanical reactions and unconscious automatisms guide our lives.... Most people are really following that forgotten path to oblivion. Reduced awareness due to overflow of data to digest, brainwashing by the media and publicity,...there are many causes.
Which brings me to escapism. Escaping does have two sides: you can escape from harsh reality which is considered a weakness by the ones who believe reality (whatever that may be) is harsh, and on the other hand you can escape from for example a prison. And many prisons are prisons of our own device. But how can anyone on the road to oblivion ever know how tied and lost they are? Isn't it a sign on the wall that many people to get into contact with themselves on 'deeper' levels need the help of mind-influencing chemicals? Rossetti took laudanum, the sixties brought us lsd and nowadays the Amazone is more popular due to its ayahuasca. Nothing wrong in taking it, but wouldn't it be more naturally human to not having to depend on chemicals?

Me personally, I would not enter that castle, that mighty fortress that protects its prisoners behind its walls of sleep. If I were there, I would avoid it at all cost and move on through the labyrinthic jungle outside.