The act of raw creation happens within a space in which the artist works separate from the realities of everyday life. I used to imagine myself in a mirrored ball. On the outside of the ball was a complex mechanism with gears and motors, very industrial. From the inside, all I could see was my reflection and an empty landscape without the other side of the ball being reflected. It was a magical mirror that reflected my image but then behind me unfolded a scenic view. Now I'm not sure what this recurring image meant, really. I suppose it is myself being concerned with myself and all of the things that concern myself. It was a space.
The surrealists were fascinated by dreams, and I guess that this for them was a space--a creative space. I wonder if it isn't a space that is meant to replace an earlier creative space, the one found in painting from nature. Surely painting subjects will cause the creation of this space when one becomes so lost in the painting process that he no longer thinks about the life around him, the concerns of the world, of society, or his family, friends, when he is no longer concerned with the past or the future, the implications or the results of what he is doing...he is simply painting, creating. Were the surrealists missing this space?
And I wonder how this space evolves. Doesn't this empty space, over time become full? Isn't it overrun by things so that eventually it is similar to the reality of everyday life...the life that once was outside of the space? At first the space is empty and pure. Things happen automatically here. Reading about "automatic writing/ painting" of the surrealists, the key is to act with as little conscious intention as possible--emptying the mind is surely an attempt to create space, isn't it? To step away from the work, to let things fall into place, to occur, to come from somewhere other than man's usual way of thinking. And this happens in landscape painting, and the painting is magical, spontaneous, original, suprising--perhaps because it happens in this place that is not tainted with man's intentions--his conscious intentions. He wants to paint a tree, but soon is so lost in his work that the tree happens on its own, colors are chosen on their own, lines are delicate or bold on their own.
I remember once in a critique classmates were marveling over these figure drawings that I was doing, and really I had no idea what I was doing...I was just drawing what I saw. I had found a paper that was for making prints and used a hard vine charcoal and the drawings were the most beautiful things. The really were. And the teacher asked the students whether they felt the marks were intentional or not. And one student who I never knew too well because he was a bit ambitious always trying to find locations for student shows (something artists should do, I guess) and whatnot said that he thought the drawing was deliberate and I felt good saying that none of the lines were done with any purpose. Because it seemed then as it does now that nothing ever comes out of deliberate painting.
And so artists are looking for this empty space, creating "new myths", as they were called back in the 30's influenced so strongly by Jung and Freud. Because the myths are a new space. But it seems that the spaces are all being created so fast and that they are polluted even faster. Perhaps for some artists they happen and are gone in minutes. Maybe a weekend. A week. More and more there is a sense that artwork has been created outside of that sacred space--without experiencing it at all. The world moves too fast, doesn't it. And this is the thing that keeps artists always in melancholy states, searching, dreaming, restless, haunted.
I used to imagine myself in a mirrored ball. A ball in which all the mechanics of life are trapped on the outside, secure, unable to affect my world. Inside the sphere are all of the things that I need.