Gabrielle von Bernstorff - Nahat Art, Artbooks, Tiny Gallery - Stein am Rhein Switzerland Kunst, Kunstbücher, Tiny Gallery Stein am Rhein Schweiz
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Touching - Aquarelles March 2022
Painting is a deeply human activity and hence a deeply human ‘product’. In that sense it is never abstract. Color and the figure are somehow present in my paintings, in the sense that boundaries are set for dissolution. The ‘object’ is touched by the world. My body is made of the flesh of this world, says Merleau-Ponty. In that sense we partake in the world, may this be the horizon, the touch, boundaries, memory, emotion and feeling.
TOUCHING is a mediation on closeness, on the embrace on the dissolution of the separation between one and other. It is empathy and love. Especially after the 2 1/2 years of social distancing due to the pandemic, what I seem to miss most is touch. May this be the touch of the gaze, seeing the smile or other facial expressions of my loved ones, friends and, so called strangers, but above all it is the touch of the hand, the embrace, the physical closeness which I have missed most. What does this distance do to us? The loss of physicality and corporeality? It is another retreat into isolation following the imprisonment behind our screens, may this be the PC or handys or tablets. Another flattening out of social relations.
These aquarelles then celebrate closeness, the touch, the merging of one with the other. I am not without you says Ubuntu. I am because I merge with you, with my surround with the world. I partake of you and you partake of me and we partake in this world. What beauty what healing after so many months of isolation.
Touching is love, empathy and partaking in someone or something larger than myself. I am not without you. These aquarelles celebrate union. May this be the touch of your hand, the breath of my love on my skin, the emotion or thought I feel. I really feel for this especially because of the pandemic. Join in the celebration and enjoy touching again, with your hands, your mind your heart. It is a celebration of being alive.
Gabrielle von Bernstorff-Nahat
The Power of Poetry
Traditional philosophy has exhausted the power to renew language because it wants to stay alone in defining the life of the mind. Poetry is the movement away from the Cartesian " I think therefore I am" to " I am dream", "I am language", "I am poetry" and "I am imagination". The systematization of knowledge runs the risk of becoming a dictatorship of the mind. It is in danger of being reductive. A method is both necessary and dangerous. As a way of approaching things, of initiating a discourse, it must be guided by principles, but these principles have a tendency to become frozen, into a system divorced from its formation, thereby paralyzing discovery. (Bachelard)
Poetry works against a systematization of knowledge. Poetry is reason beyond reason. Where philosophy gives room to desperation, poetry takes over thought. Poetry is the place of material imagination. "Matter is dreamed not perceived." (Bachelard) Making is relational and is closer to art than aesthetic principles. Making in the realm of the imagination works against a totalizing method, it is a dispersed philosophy, a poly-philosophy of poly-joints and multiple connections. Bachelard speaks of the "penseur-charnière" and of a "rupture epistemologique."
"Poetry is made of words", (Mallarmé), just as architecture is made of light and dark, of materials, space, rhythm and so on. Modern poetry begins when space enters the time of poetry. Mallarmé is the explosion of space into poetry. It is space which allows the psyche to unfold in a free manner. In modern poetry there is another kind of interiority. The psyche opens up into space in the novels of Virginia Woolf and André Breton. "Communicating Vessels" explores the alchemical weave between waking and dream reality. In "To the Lighthouse", "....the blue went out of the sea and it rolled in waves of pure lemon which curved and swelled and broke upon the beach and the ecstasy burst in her eyes and waves of pure delight raced over the floor of her mind and she felt, it is enough! It is enough!" The space "outside" enters the mind.
Novalis the poet of shadows could be seen as a precursor to Freud. With both the shadow becomes the place of ontic difference, a place of articulation and experience. The shadow here has become modern because it has moved beyond representation, it acquires a life of its own, it begins to move freely, without transcendental reserve. Poetry, like architecture, lives from its weave, from its suggestive power and from its radiant beauty. Like a poem, architecture remains free. " We shall never enclose its fate in our own." (Bachelard)
The architectural image is more than a symbol, representation or mere sign. "The psyche is animated by a veritable hunger for images,...it seeks the positive character of the image." (Bachelard) Material Imagination moves in a weave between action, dynamic and resistance in the world of the mind, soul, psyche and in cultural space. Active imagination is not a reflex; it needs a dialectical dynamic, moving between love, anger, hardness, softness and so on. The poet absorbs the lesson of the stream just as architecture makes the city more like the city, the water more than water and the sky more than the sky.
Gabrielle von Bernstorff-Nahat
Blue is color. Blues are conditions, Saphire-Blue in the Zohar holds everything together. Blue is deep space, heart-talk and infinite, always returning without end. Blues color everything, they impregnate. Blues are also mental. Everything which is blue is also transparent, transcendent and deep. The sky, the clouds, water and the stary night. Blues are nocturnal. Since Romanticism Blue is the color of Reverie : Goethe, Novalis, Mallarmé, Eluard, Gaston Bachelard and Else-Lasker Schüler sing this Azur. Blue is a secret which holds its promise.
The Absence of an image in these blue paintings makes all images possible. Out of nothingness grows the sensibility and invention of the present. This is the deep space holding everything out of nothingness. In the beginning is the imagination the desire for expression. The deep space is an immersion into the depths of music, language, dance, imagination, emotions, the infiniteness. of the universe. This nothing becomes the vectors of all possibilities. Blue is a force and strength. I could recount your names for days, speak of you without mentioning your name. (Xavier Naidoo).
Blue is Chopin and Schuhmann, Beethoven’s troubled heart, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa’s Jazz of the Universe. It is the dream-walker of Australia, the love of lyrical rap. It is the tender strings vibrating of the Oud and the Indian Raga. Blue is everything 56'000 times over. It is Martin Luther King’s prayer and what Malcolm X would have become would he not have been murdered. Blue is a gentle promise. It is the love of Victor Hugo’s Jean Val Jean.
Blues are empathy, melancholy, tears, love the ocean. Blues are warmth and forgiveness. Blue is peace and the color of the age of Aquarias. Blues are also above the senses and purity. Blues are love. Blue is also all colors because it is close to black. Blue is also red because it comes from the earth and sky and is the color of the heart, of love. Mary’s clothes in Titian, Raphael and Botticelli’s paintings are blue because she carries the sky within her. It is an immersion in God’s garment in an everyday and natural form. Blue is also the blue delphinium of the African highlands or the Iris. Blue promises the golden age. It is the old new dream of paradise. The blue nudes of Matisse dream the age of paradise in blue.
Images in the absence of images have a material fullness, they are the sound of the heart and soul. Being and becoming, the reality of a dream lived in the everyday. Blue is a movement towards black (Gaston Bachelard) This beautiful blue, the poem and reverie of Jazz with is movements away from Abstraction into space you find in oriental arabesques, Ingres, Turner, Monet, da Vinci, Rothko, the caryatids of tenderness of Modigliani, Chagall’s dreams, Yves Klein, Robert Motherwell, Braque and more.
Blue is a cosmogony. A vitality present in the entire universe like the sun moon and stars. Blue is Lapis Lazuli the Stone of the Wise. Immateriality is also in these blue paintings. Life is an upward and downward movement and the day will arrive when the word blue suffices to materialize a blue painting. We shall continue painting anyway, the two are not mutually exclusive, because snow is blue and not white.
The blues shine like the sky, like the night, like a Symphony and places us in a world of drunken sensibility. Blue is Mary’s heavenly robe as well as Eve’s earthly nakedness with Matisse. The nakedness of Matisse’s blue figures are the paradisical condition of human beings on earth.
Blue is never ending, deepest of all colors next to black. The eye can drown in these paintings without obstruction, moving in the infinite. Blue is fluid, sky, water, air, the blue cloudy hair head of Modigliani’s Jewess. Blue circles the great unknown, what stirs the soul and what moves her.
Blue is peace and non-violence. It is the unseen writing of everything felt, seen and heard. Blue,- is a condition of the soul.
Reflections on Boarders
The boarder envelopes what is inside and differentiates what is exterior to it.
Seen differently, the boarder is also that which creates the link between what is inside and outside.
Perhaps instead the boarder is in effect a kind of field, imagine looking through a looking glass, the frame expands and the edges become thick like with peripheral vision, the edges slightly out of focus, no longer an object; background and foreground merging.
The boarder then is perhaps the quintessential gatherer. Perhaps this is why there is so much traffic at borders. The border is a link within an expanded field. Boarders are places of pain and joy. These blues capture this duality with hope, the human spirit in its strength and beauty, shining through
Meditations on Memory
Memory has a materiality, a physicality: it is corporeal.
« Bodies have all the explanatory power of the mind . » We don’t have bodies the same way we have other objects, because being a body; our corporeality, is something we occupy, something we must live.
Corporeality goes beyond a materialist reductionism. Corporeality is like a flame, it is both substance and process. Bodies are constituted materially and immaterially at the same time.
Memory is lived experience, collective memory, desires and trajectories : a corporeal sharing and communion with the world. I must have a body in order to see and to be seen. Sight and touch inside and outside meet with the body and through memory. Merleau-Ponty speaks oft he reversibility oft the flesh. Body and memory are intimately connected both are permanent and always changing their expressive potential and what they can do. Like language memory is a ‚wild being‘, the world touching and perceiving itself. I can only see by the touching of the light“, Luce Irrigaray. Memory is a kind of sight, a corporeal vision.
Gabrielle von Bernstorff-Nahat is a painter and writer. This blog is dedicate to reflections on painting.