The world, God and the absence cannot be presented. It is stronger than an interdiction: this has to do with incapacity. Painting cannot copy reality but by falsifying it. This incapacity, once understood, becomes the source of all creativity’s forces.
The signs do not resemble the world, and yet, they are the only ones capable to contain the figure and mark its limits. It is significant that among all signs, the letters of a very ancient ABC, the Hebrew Aleph-Beit, have the power to signify, to mark the divine secret.
We make a daily use of these signs: a hasty, an inconsiderate and devilish use of them. But, to take care of the signs, of their form and their secret nature, is to make of them a symbolic use. It literally weaves and reweaves the world’s substance, and it links us and reconnects us: taking care of the world, means to take care of ourselves.
This care taking of the signs, requires from the one who dedicates himself to it, preciseness as well as doubt: this is the challenge of art, of an art whose purpose is not decorative, but the art of probing out. To paint canvases, to live with their presence, is to enter the enigmatic and salutary power of signs, of their ordinance and of their symbolic specter, in the similar way as we talk about the music specter or the specter of music.
Whether we are dealing with these magic rectangles, which horizontally, vertically, or in diagonal, offer us when we manage to decipher them, a similar value; whether we are dealing with a trinity of primordial elements, when each one of them is symbolized by their letter, and its conjunction forms their genesis, or whether we are dealing with a unique letter (Beit) referring to the world’s creation, or if we are dealing with the angels who visited Abraham. The Kabbalah deciphers their names by the succession of letters, referring to few verses in Exodus – the beauty of these paintings is inseparable of their force.
All of the letters are fields of energy, a forceful one, the whirl of a luminous energy (meaning, very accurately, the purpose [object] of the art of painting), when we know how to take care of the world and of ourselves, we shall see beyond the falsifying appearances of profane and vulgar representations: the burning bush, the hair, and the gates of heaven.
But who is capable of seeing it? Who knows to see it? Don Quichotte? Maybe… The Goodman can, this is for certain.
Will you be capable to read the look in the eyes of the well-meaning man?
Anne F. Garreta
Anne F. Garreta, writer, has published her books with Grasset:
Sphinx (1986), Liquid Skies (1990) The Decomposition (1999)
Not One Day (received the Prix Medicis 2002).