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Art of Experience ¬

Groundwork and guidelines for a practice in theory


Art of Experience is an experiment in creation, under construction and in progress. It's an experimental journey  where the doing of artworks/images are explored as possibilities for opening up the seemingly constant, stable, relentless. Explore yourself through making your own inner images, and create yourself, the one you'll find out this way that you can be - if you want to. It's about trying to see things from novel perspectives, by navigating interconnections in experience, existence and identity, where those commonly perceived "hard tools" for the understanding of the human being are grasped as loos categories, constantly entwined with non-identity markers shaping each other in an "I-in-becoming" process. One key aspect of what the experiment explores is what could be if "ordinary" identity markers change place - or at least change degree of importance - with non-identity markers. It is an experiment where variations of the inner space is given precedence and is offered new rooms for taking shape, through the practice of doing artworks. It's about seeing who you may-be, or rather, exploring the "I" as may-be.

Maybe Art of Experience also can be described as a way of exploring the space and nature of the human place in brief moments of time. Nature, culture and experience, whose common denominator is inevitable change. Change as the everlasting eternal.  In this respect, Art of Experience is about a possibility.

The thought structure behind it all has its foundation in the idea of the self as a process, as discursively moulded, an interpretation of the self with roots in symbolic interactionist theory, "doing gender" theory and related constructionist theories. However, this experiment is done outside the borders of academia, and hence can go beyond that context, for example, deliberately blending feelings, sentiments and scientific theories as equally important analytical tools, with the doing of artworks as the empirical foundation for further explorations. The artworks here are done not to investigate a specific aspect of something, but to investigate what will appear when the thought of investigating a specific aspect of something is the opposite of that being done. In a way, the experiment Art of Experience, has been built up as an arena where no aspect of experience has been ruled out beforehand, it all circles round boundaries and possibilities, with the self somewhere in the middle, as an identity/difference process. A created and creative "border bending" activity. Even though this whole identity/difference formatting process, as it is perceived here, do comprise the thought of a long term line of being, its stable constant – its main foundation – is the notion of the I as short time projects; The temporary as the irreversible, the long term line of being as just a soil of inspiration. The "I" as constantly (open for) reversing itself for new angles of coming into being, as a life embracing activity. This "life espousal" approach may appear paradoxical sometimes, since the theme of death is more or less constantly present on the different pages, but here death is not equalling the dying of the long term line of being, but the position where new "I-in-becomings" can take place. Art of Experience is thus about using the medium of artworks as a door opening for the soul. 
So, one core idea behind it all is change as inevitable, change as an inherited part of being. Art of Experience is about receiving change, where the doing of artworks is offering tools for re-inventing the "I-design". The self is standing in the middle, since that is what we have to do experience with, the arena on which the changing aspects can be transformed. In this, death is the base for everything - the position where new "I-in-becomings" can take place. In that sense the other core idea that build up the Art of Experience practice/theory is similar to a corner stone in existentialism, only here the idea has a post-modern twitch to it. In existentialism, awareness of death is a crucial factor behind finding a purpose with life. In Art of Experience this thought is equally central, but here it is the temporary death  - the awareness of life as change, and hence the dying of (one aspect of) the I-now-being as the creating space - the canvas on which the birth of the I-in-becoming can take place - that is the central theme.

 Art of Experience ¬
Doing Change – Communicating Constants

Un-Cage Yourself.

In a way, to do Art of Experience is to let the soul do its own self portraits; the soul portraying its inner multidimensional and shifting expressions. Or perhaps, the self portraying reflections of soul encounters. There are three central aspects, three corner stones, here. One: Embrace and make space for what is usually considered mistakes and accidents. Integrate mistakes, accidents and the not-intended in the formation and shaping of a picture or an expression. Images that takes shape that way is a crucial part of the voyage of discovery. Two: Close down the “conscious thinking process” while you’re doing your artworks; listen inwards and let that "inner-mind-feeling" direct you. Move outside the box. The things you do when you do Art of Experience should be free from the everyday world you’re living in the rest of the time, in order to give space to the concealed, the covert – possibilities not yet discovered. The third central aspect is the doing of change – and communicating constants.

Art of Experience is thus about exploring existence as it’s mirrored in the I-now-being and the I-in-becoming entwinements. The whole thing can be summarised just by this – to investigate being and becoming, death and life, through the navigation of interconnections in existence (with you as the mirroring in-between). Every artwork I have ever done is a self portrait in this respect.

 One aspect of making Art of Experience. Oil paintings.

 Let the material become “co-creator” of its own expression. This means, for example, letting the material used to create a special detail change an idea and lead the creation process in a different direction than was intended. It can also mean that the texture that a painting is drawn upon is allowed to “enter” into the picture. It’s about having an open mind to what is actually happening on/with your work, and continue the work on the basis of what has happened/is happening – on/with the painting, and also in your own mind. For me, this can be done through not pursuing to do what comes into my mind. An example is “Sunlife – Deathsun” (upcoming). I did this painting on what was previously a section in a work table made in wood. I had an idea when I looked at it that this painting should be something with a lonely tree, a sun setting and the rest just a desert landscape. It turned out to be something completely different, something that looks to me like an intersection of the sun. Also, about a month after I had started the painting, the wood in the work table where shining through the paint (in spite of the different things I had done prior, to prepare it for its new life as artwork). The effect that this was giving – it was like the material itself wanted to “co-produce” its own expression – I shouldn’t have been able to neither think about nor accomplish by myself. In a way, it is like life is re-entering from what was supposed dead.

Another thing I like to experiment with is when I have done something on a painting and don’t like it, I use the texture that the layers of paint has shaped to create something new – and (for me) more likeable. The un-liked painting thus becomes the foundation for the creation of something new (and hopefully more likeable) – often totally different from it’s origin but still holding the former structure as an inevitable base for its whole existence. One example of this is “A Cosmical Journey” (upcoming). The same “technique” is also used when I have started a painting on something my mother have previously done and no longer want to keep. In one sense, these paintings are even more exiting to do – it’s something about starting on another persons universe and see what can come out when you enter your own inner space in/on it (see for example “Sea-Sun”).

Yet another part of this is when circumstances I don’t have control over does something with the work that I don’t discover until after the detail or the whole work is finished. Or when I do something wrong with an idea I have, which usually make me think: “so what do I do now?”. These accidents thus become a new starting point in the constructing process, like a new “movement”, that can bring shape to a whole new aspect or just grow into the wholeness in a – for me – rather invisible way. One example of the latter is the frames for the “The Voice”-paintings. This is what happened:

I had finished the first “The Voice”-painting and wanted to create my own frame for it. I had decided to make it out of my brothers firewood. Due to a miscommunication the frame pieces I cut out became just a little bit too small. This was what gave me the idea to connect the four inner pieces with angel irons and then attach two longer sections on the sides. Most probably, I had never come up with this idea weren’t it for this mistake, and now I’m really glad I made it because I really like the concept for that frame. Anyway, I painted the six frame pieces black, using a water based colour in order to let the wood material lustre through. The sort of rough impression that this gave, gave me the idea to use a black metal chain as the hanging device – with the ends of the chain hanging down in different lengths at both sides. A detail I personally like with the frame is that I unwearyingly chose six of the hardest wood pieces in my brothers’ firewood (wracking wood, the hardness of which I became aware when drilling the angel irons in place).

The frame for “The Voice II” was (not surprisingly) built on the same concept. Two things differ, though. One is that here I used two kinds of (water based) colour – matt and gloss – to let the inner space become slightly separated from the outer. The second thing that differs is the very thin electrical cable applied on the outer pieces on the “II” frame. I found those in my parents´ basement. I was down there just searching for interesting stuff to work with and found two wires with this very thin electric cable. I instantly liked both the material and the colours (purple and yellow) so I took a piece of both, at the time not having any specific idea on how to make use of them. On the frame here I used one of them to decorate and enhance something in the painting, on the outer frame pieces.
Well, I don’t know what you think about the frames, but as said above, I personally like them tremendously for some reason (maybe they express something that I like to watch from the outside?). And this brings me to my concluding remark in this section: I never know what it is I'm doing, so when I have finished a painting I just let it "rest" for a while and then - after a few weeks, a month or something - I can suddenly see something in it. Or, which is more often the case, someone else sees something and ask me about why I have done that (my nephew has a really good eye for this!).

And remember, everything you're doing when you're making Art of Experience is meant to be.
Everything is on its way to somewhere.

(This page will soon be updated with a section discussing techniques and thoughts behind the doing of the embroideries.)


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