In the eye of the beholder

All beauty is painful.  When you try to squeeze the beauty of nature into a rectangle, you encounter certain problems. How you deal with those problems is painting.

Richard Serra, The Band

Richard Serra, The Band

Beauty is also personal.  Since Einstein, there is no such thing as a single reality – each person is in a different place, seeing from a different perspective. So billions of people see billions of different realities.

I didn’t really understand that until I saw Richard Serra’s monumental steel sculptures – my first reaction was ‘Oh, that’s Einstein’s equation!’ He didn’t know he was doing that, but he was.

I was prejudiced against him, I admit, because I thought he was just being trendy, putting logs in a museum and so on.  But when I saw that sculpture, I was impressed.  Every time you move around, you are seeing something else.

White Piano, Galya Tarmu

White Piano, Galya Tarmu

It has to do with time and space and relations – nothing can be changed without the whole thing falling apart.  That is what I am trying to do.  You are always in danger of ruining years of work.  Really a lifetime of work.

I don’t think Serra was thinking about Einstein when he made his sculptures.  And I don’t think about the theory of relativity when I’m painting, but maybe all art is an expression of it.

These are very subtle things.  But we know them when we see them – in Serra and Moreau and Klimt.
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