Working in Series
I imagine this famous scene of the post-coital cigarette seen in so many movies: the couple of a one-night-stand against the bed headboard, under the sheets, in the dark, intertwined by the fumaroles of a cigarette. It’s over. They seem jaded. “Well, that’s it. Goodbye, I’ll call you. ” Nothing more. It was fast. He puts on his trousers and exits the room and so does the other person.
Here is another version of the same scene, but that exists between two lovers. But here, against the bed headboard, on top of the sheets interlaced; everything is slower, we discuss, we laugh, we talk about the construction of the last minute and also, the future. We think. It’s uplifting.
It’s the same for painting. Too many times, in my painting classes and painting workshops, I have met students and “artists” who after finishing a painting live a feeling of emptiness as if the painted subject only aroused a slight satisfaction, nothing more. However, just before doing the painting, these painters had said that it would be interesting to do this or that, “here is a challenge”. As soon as the work is completed, they say, “Well, what am I doing now? A moonlight? A door scratched by time? A pot of geranium on a windowsill? A chickadee? “Checked! Done! And now what? “. And comes the linearity of an enumeration of painted subjects. Oh! I saw so many artists who lived this “pictorial post-coitus” (PPC)!
Does this PPC void occur because the artists cannot identify emotionally with their own works. Perhaps because these works do not reflect the artists’ identity or what their vision of life is?
Fortunately, there is also another post-coital work. Once finished, the artists are satisfied to have pushed their work a step further, and yet we speak here about the same painting subject. After they finish, they are already thinking about their next painting, which will be inspired by the one recently completed. “Well, how can you push it even further, to make it stronger? “Henceforth the need to work in series, because it is only the series that allows this kind of reflection, hence the circularity, the holism of creation, a reflection of the universe. We welcome a reality that preceded us on which, now, we must work. This series of works of art on the same theme becomes in a way the partner of a long moment, even for life; I am thinking here of Murakami’s work with his memes, or of Ron Mueck dealing with human fragility or Banksy’s social comments. Doing a work of art is like making love. There is the passion of the moment, the abandonment of time, two beings becoming one flesh that expresses through harmony and circularity… and not linearity.
We agree that a completed work can bring a great sense of boredom, even disappointment, or a sense of euphoria that encourages pursuing a career as an artist. We have a choice; “Well done! What do I paint now as my next subject? Or “WOW! How can I push this canvas so it becomes better and more complex in the reflection of my time and my life?”