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.
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.
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.