Today, a year ago, the Bataclan in Paris was under attack by terrorists. Last night, Sting gave what must have been a very touching performance at the Bataclan. Some of the guests were family of victims of this horrendous act of violence.
How striking it is to see tension rise everywhere, in today’s world where everybody seems to scream for equality and liberization. A tension so intense that it seems to dominate everything else. I understand there will always be —at least to some degree— tensity between people with different ideas, but people tend to think in more extreme terms when they are confronted with stress or tension. The US elections are a nice example, though I must say that I have no idea how things really work in the US (I’ve never been there). I heard a renowed scholar explaining the American electoral system on the radio the other day. According to him, a lot of poor people aren’t even allowed to vote in the US because they do not meet the administrative requirements.
I’m no expert, but even though the electoral system in Belgium is totally different, I see that our political structure is just as self-sustaining as the American system. Those that are in the powerful positions want to stay there and build firm barriers to stop or discourage those that disagree.
On a completely different scale, I am no different. I notice that I am sometimes subject to “self-protection” just like everyone else. When I’ve reached a certain level of comfort, I tend to strive to keep it or improve it. Sometimes, when things don’t go my way, or when I’m really fed up with the fact that something or someone ignores me or takes me for granted, I start spouting utter nonsense, and it’s usually with a voice, louder than normal.
I made a painting about tension. It’s turned out to be a very simple composition, that in a way takes me back to the very beginning of my creative awakening, when I made my first drawing as an adult. I had made a drawing of a beautiful autumn leaf I had found on the ground back then. I’ve depicted the same subject now, be it in oil paint. The tension is particularly sensible in the composition. Starting from a white wall, which I didn’t paint white, but anyhow, a white wall with a screw that has a thin cord attached to it. A beautiful red leaf is tied to the cord.
I chose to position the screw and the leaf quite close to the top and bottom edges of the panel, because that is what creates the tension. The string prevents the leaf from falling, something which it is meant to do. Just as the leaf reaches its ultimate beauty, it falls of the tree, in all its glory. In that sense, I am that cord, preventing this natural event from happening, with my inevitable urge to have some sort of an impact on my immediate environment. My actions have an impact on this environment of which I’m not always aware at the time of execution.
In other words, even though we seem to want rest and peace, we create tension. It is quite ironic to see that all of the worlds issues come from this deep, selfish, urge for tranquility and satisfaction.
I am no different than others.