For over a year I’ve been working on paintings dealing with the nature of addiction and what it is like to love someone who is struggling with it. I am still learning about the way in which my life has been affected by this, both positively and negatively. These artworks are therefore a personal journey and an attempt to start a dialogue between myself as a co-dependant, (consumed by the plight of the addict), those with an addiction and anyone else who joins the conversation.
I will post pictures and sketches here in my blog for you to see, in anticipation of exhibitions in the latter stages of 2018.
This is the first time I am showing the content of this door on-line. More about that in a moment. The door is my exhibition space. It originally was made to stand outside Den Frie/The Independent exibition, because they house KE – a Censored Exhibition – every year that I feel has a counterproductive way of ‘promoting’ up-and-coming artists. It costs between 550.1150kr to enter, with no need for accountability from the panel of judges. I therefore exhibit outside for free every year with the council’s permission and I’m sure that attracts more long-lasting attention than what is happening inside. It is quite entertaining really. Aloong the side of the door frame are the words; Den Friere – The More Independent, because my decision to use public space instead of Den Frie; The Independent, makes me freer!
This is from the two week period the door stood outside Den Frie. The painting itself describes the feeling of having a scream inside that you cannot contain. It needs to be released and the only way is for you to rip yourself open to relieve the pressure. This emotion more specifically, came from the realisation that communication with someone dear to me was crumbling to dust and I seemed unable to stop the wrecking ball from swinging. A very painful period.
The reason for the mask is that Den Frie’s Censored Exhibition KE give ‘faceless’ rejections; just a red dot on-line. So I thought I’d remain ‘faceless’. The word on the door “Censored” can have several interpretations: 1. That me and my painting are censored by Den Frie in terms of being rejected. 2. My painting being censored due to its naked horror. 3. I as a person feel rejected by another person, and the painting is an expression of that feeling of rejection. This is the main motivation for the word on the door. But the layered meaning is deliberate.
With permission from the council, I moved the door to Kongens Nytorv in November 2017 and it has been there since then. It has been visited by hundreds if not thousands of tourists and locals throughout the past 4-5 months.
Here is a letter someone wrote to me, thinking I was C. S. Lewis. But C.S Lewis is who I quoted under the painting, not me. It was nontheless very touching and I appreciate the words of comfort that were expressed to me here.
I like this message! Teresa has understood that love is worth the risk, but that it is a risk.
I like the juxtaposition of the gentleness expressed between this couple and the horror of what it is like when love goes wrong, which they are witnessing.
Compared to outside Den Frie in Østerport where it might have had 5 visitors a day, the door is getting masses of attention in Kongens Nytorv. I think it is visited every 5 mins or so and I’ve had about 60 email addresses or messages in my postbox which is attached to the door. Unfortunately I’ve found the box open at times and I think many messages have blown away too 🙁
As I say, this is the first time I am posting pictures of the content of the door, but it is almost certainly not the first time it has been shown on-line by others. You see friends being photographed as they open the door. I like the intimacy that having a painting behind a door which you have to open yourself creates.
Then, in february someone took a knife to my painting and cut it out of its stretcher! Sabotage! the wires to the lightbulbs were also cut. BUT, when you meet resistance and have a creative streak, you don’t give up or bow out.
The sabotuer did not take the canvas with them, so I decided to try sewing it back in. I pasted contact glue around the seam on the back to stop the seam from running as soon as I started to sew.
I used a strong thread to pull the canvas seam tight once the glue was dry. It was impressively effective considering the amount of tension needed to close all of the seams. I deliberately used a red thread and a varied stitch to create what could look like a sewn together flesh wound.
Back to the content: The painting is called “To Love” and deals with the vulnerability of love. Love is the strongest emotion and can lead to the deepest pain. The quote is by C.S. Lewis and says it like it is; love makes vulnerable. If you don’t want to be vulnerable, then don’t let your heart love anyone or anything. He is not saying, don’t love, he’s just explaining the natural cost.
So here is the new improved version of what I presented originally, now with life-experience similar to the theme of the motif itself. Thanks to the saboteur. I couldn’t have done it without you! Maybe there is a story here about scars in life making us somehow more beautiful, if we are willing to take them and work with them.