Enquanto percorro as imagens do livro adentro cada vez mais meu universo inconsciente, sinto remexerem os terrenos mais nebulosos. As fotografias pouco nítidas – borradas, sobrepostas – me atraem, me engolem, permitem que eu me projete automaticamente. O percurso me mostra ciclos internos e fala da morte como libertação ou como condição necessária pra vida.
Dentre os trabalhos que conheço do artista, é esse o que me coloca no mais amplo dos mundos. Transito por um caminho vertical, que vai das trevas ao céu. Vai das raízes profundas aos galhos altos ou, ainda mais alto, aos vôos, que são ali uma desmaterialização. E vai da força em seu aspecto mais denso e vital à pulsação sutil e sublime, do impulso primitivo ao mais diferenciado.
Nesse caminhar sou apresentada a um ser profundo, intenso, de sombra e luz.
No primeiro contato com o livro me deparo com um objeto de tamanho agradável e que, protegido por uma luva, me faz abordá-lo como quem lida com algo que é precioso, que merece respeito ao ser aberto. Na capa, as janelas abertas mas que não mostram o que tem dentro da casa, convidam a chegar mais perto, a olhar bem de perto pelo vidro. Ao mesmo tempo que causam um certo receio em ir em frente. Desde o início o livro me instiga e perturba.
O título ‘one tree’ e a guarda, com as folhas mortas no chão, me fazem arriscar que o assunto são os ciclos, de vida e morte, fim e recomeço. Tudo vem da terra e volta pra ela. A árvore é simbolicamente forte por conter esse movimento. Ela ilustra, principalmente em países com estações mais bem definidas, a passagem e o ciclo do tempo. O texto que aparece no final do livro contém também uma mensagem forte de ‘morte para que haja vida’, como se a morte fosse necessária pra que os ciclos se fechassem e outros se abrissem.
Paro no olhar intenso do gato/estátua. Não sei se de forma geral os gatos são associados à morte ou às passagens. No Heartbeat (livro publicado pelo artista em 1994), um gato branco aparece ao lado de um texto sobre superação da morte – “It took me three years to realize that your death is bearable. It’s no longer hard for me to feel the warmth of the floor of my childhood home”.
O olhar do gato, na imagem de abertura, me lembra o olhar que parece ter o falcão no texto do final do livro: uma clarividência, um poder de ver além. Mas fico confusa. Confesso que esse gato mexe mais comigo do que me dá direcionamentos. Tenho essa sensação o tempo todo no livro. Ele tem uma energia muito forte, mexe com as entranhas bem mais do que esclarece o mundo.
A primeira parte tem um movimento incrível. Parece que tudo roda em torno do eixo central do livro, pra dentro e pra fora, e desse eixo pro mundo. Como uma pulsação. O tempo passando, o universo engolindo tudo e gerando vida e intensidade. E de repente paro, de novo, no olhar imerso de uma mulher. E nas crianças. E o pó na palma da mão me fala sobre a fragilidade da vida. O ritmo diminui, começam a aparecer detalhes e sutilezas, tudo com sensualidade, fluidez, intensidade. Parece que tudo vai e vem. Surge meio nebuloso no inconsciente, depois voa. Continua pulsando, mas mais devagar.
O movimento vertical que a árvore representa pode ser também percorrido como um mergulho em nossas origens, uma reflexão sobre o tempo, o passado, e sobre os frutos, os filhos (de acordo com a imagem de caminhos verticais e horizontais do Leo Divendal). Acho que o livro é isso também, esse mergulho em si mesmo, nesses ciclos internos de morte, vida, libertação, recriação.
A segunda parte, depois da sequência de árvores, é ainda mais forte.
Começa com o cavalo cego (Uau! Poderia ficar um bom tempo só olhando essa imagem!). Por ele estar com os olhos tampados, mostra que agora o olhar se volta ainda mais pra dentro de nós. O cavalo traz o simbolismo de ser o lado inconsciente da psique e, além disso, de ter a capacidade de ser vida e morte, de vir das trevas e conquistar o céu.
A imagem das janelas escuras, como os olhos fechados do cavalo, convidam, como na capa, a entrar. E na imagem seguinte, de fato, passo pra outra dimensão, angustiada e solitária, como se eu tivesse mesmo mergulhado na alma do artista, ou na minha, tanto faz. A sequência a partir daí é incrível também. Mais solitária, mais doída, mais sombria, mas ainda turbulenta e catártica.
No final o mundo vai se desfazendo. A foto da mulher tem vida, pulsa, mas tem também um borrão que vai apagando seu rosto. O prédio sombrio, sem vida, com janelas escuras. O menino/fantasma. A cadeira vazia.
Fim, o mundo morreu. Talvez para que o ciclo recomece.
Going though the images I dive more and more deeply into the unconscious universe, and I feel shaking in the most obscure grounds. The little clear images – blurry, superimposed – atract me, swallow me, allow me to project myself automatically. The travel through the images shows me internal cycles and talks about the death as a liberation or as a necessary condition to life.
Comparing to the others artist’s works that I know, this is the one that places me in the widest world. I go through a vertical path that goes from the darkness to the sky. It goes from the deep roots to the high branches or, even higher, to the flights, which I see as a dematerialization. And it goes from the power we find in the thicker and more vital aspect of life to the subtle and sublime pulsation, from the primitive to the more discriminated impulse.
In this walk I’m introduced to a deep person, intense, with shadow and light.
In the first contact with the book I came across a object that has pleasant size and that is protected by a slipcase, what makes me approach it as if I was holding something precious, that deserves respect while opening. On the cover, the windows that are open, but not showing what is inside of the house, invite to go closer, to look really near to the glass. At the same time they cause a kind of fear of going ahead. Even from this beginning the book instigates and disturbs me.
The title ‘one tree’ and the endpapers, with the dead leaves on the ground, makes me guess if it will talk about cycles, about life and death, end and restart. All comes from the ground, and all goes back to the ground. A tree is a being that has, in itself, all the cycle. It illustrates, especially in countries with defined seasons, the time passages and cycles. The text at the end of the book has also a strong message of ‘death creating life’, as if death were necessary to close the cycles and to open new ones.
I stop on the intense look of the cat/statue. I don’t know if in general the cats are associated to death or to passages. In the Heartbeat (book published by the artist in 1994), a white cat appears at the side of a text about death being overcome – “It took me three years to realize that your death is bearable. It’s no longer hard for me to feel the warmth of the floor of my childhood home”.
The cat’s look, on the opening image, is similar to the look that the hawk seems to have in the text: a clear-sightedness, a power of seeing over. But I don’t know. I confess that this cat disturbs me more than gives me directions. In fact I feel this emotion constantly looking in the book. It has a very strong energy, turns my guts over much more than explains the world.
The first part has a amazing movement. It seems to be turning round the central axis of the book, to inside and to outside, and from this axis to the world. Like a pulse. The time is passing, the universe is swallowing everything and generating life and intensity. And I suddenly stop in the look of the woman within the water. And in the kids. The powder on the palm of the hand talks about the fragility of life. The rhythm reduces, I see details and subtleness. Everything is sensual, fluid, intense. It seems that all the things come and go. Things look misty appearing in the unconscious side, and then they fly. Keep pulsing, slowly now.
The vertical movement that the tree represents can also be explored as a dive in our origins, a reflection about time, about past, and about the fruits, the creations (according to the vertical and horizontal images of Leo Divendal). I think the book is also that, that dive in oneself, in this internal cycles of death, life, liberation, recreation.
The second part, after the tree sequence, is even stronger for me.
It starts with the blind horse (wow! I could stay a long time just looking at this image!). Just because it has the eyes covered shows that now the look is even more directed to inside. The horse embodies the symbol of being the unconscious psychic side and, beside this, the symbol of being able to be life and death, of coming from the darkness and conquer the sky.
The image of the dark windows, closed like the horse’s eyes, invites to go in. In the next one I indeed passed to other world, afflicted and alone, as if I had really dived in artist’s soul, or mine. The sequence from there is amazing too. More lonely, more painful, darker, still turbulent and cathartic.
At the end the world is dissolving. The woman image has life, pulses, but has also a blur that erases her face. The obscure building, without life, with dark windows. The boy/ghost. The empty chair.
The end, the world is over. Maybe for the recreation of the cycle.
Machiel (26 de fevereiro de 2012)
Another beautiful text !
I come back
Daniel (27 de fevereiro de 2012)
Dear Helena, I loved your approach to the book! I see that the cat caught you just as it caught me. The Sphynx… I was thinking about what you wrote on my text, about the movie The Never Ending Story. Then I read your text and thought that when you say “The end, the world is over” it reminds me of The Nothing. That entity in the movie destroys everything. The Nothing is maybe something that pushes us forward… Also, reading your text I took the book again in my hands and saw that both horses are blind. There is one with something in front of his eyes, but the other one has a tree in the place of an eye. Curious!
Helena Rios (29 de fevereiro de 2012)
É, os olhos vão se fechando ao longo do livro. Depois do gato/esfinge, o olhar da mulher embaixo d’água já não é perturbador. Os cavalos. E a mulher do final tem também os olhos fechados, numa leveza linda. E vamos nós também fechando os olhos pro mundo do lado de fora.
Yes, the eyes go on shutting throughout the book. After the cat/sphynx, the eye sight of the woman under the water is not disturbing any more. The horses. And the woman at the end has the eyes closed, in a beautiful lightness. And we also go on closing our eyes to the outside world.
Machiel (24 de março de 2012)
Unconsious universe. Can you imagine my struggles to talk, or to write about that? To see you, and the others, succeed so seemingly effortless, to see that is really something. When you say: It has a very strong energy, turns my guts over much more than explains the world, I know exactly what you talk about. True that I do not explain the world, not even my world. What you really seem to say is that the concentration of many emotions, together with the ‘not explaining’, can be really tough.
The white cat from Heartbeat was our cat when I was about ten years old. Photographed with a Kodak Instamatic and its tiny plastic lens, that gives a quality I have found back only in early Japanese photography. Also I do not know if cats are associated with passages, or life that stops. When, three years after my mother passed, I stood stronger on my feet again. She was back inside me in all the stages of our shared life, not just in the last moments of her life. The white cat is the image that represents my childhood most, and it feels like the icon of our shared life then.
I try to explain to myself what it is I do. Obviously I like to be non linear. I guess that first means that where, when, who is not important. But that is easy to say. Because if at the same time you give nothing, then it does not work. If facts and information are skipped, I do think I have to give a certain precision in an other way. Because if I don’t do that nothing matters and if nothing matters you do not have the freedom to take my stuff as you want.
Though I am not sure at all if I succeed, I do know how and with what I try to be precise. It is about photographing from the heart.
So ok, the second horse is blind. If I would tell you otherwise, then I would be your interference.
In Rainchild it is the same but different. Also there are many pieces of a puzzle. Perhaps these pieces are questions, perhaps these pieces are whatever is left when one touches on something. In the end I (tried to) address most, visually and with some words.
The difference with this book is that now I did not take that path of addressing. I left the questions unanswered, perhaps there are no questions, or if there are they needed no answers. The images play less with each other. It is a single image book. But also inside the images there may be a certain independence, less need to connect to the other images. But the book is still the sum of the total. With both Heartbeat and Rainchild there was a moment I tried to make the single image book. Now I have a better idea why I couldn’t, I think many images in these books lacked that independence.
The majority of the images in One Tree are from the past five, six years. These were years with a lot of happiness and a lot of sadness going hand in hand inside me. I had many questions about myself, but not many answers. Things were not very resolved.
At one point, quite early in those 5-6 years, I began making dummies for a book. Once I start doing that everything changes, a line gets stretched and it stays stretched for as long as it takes. Looking at my images I found a different concentration. More clarity somehow. Most images simply came to me, I just found them on my film and remembered little about taking them. This was mostly caused by living in Italy, and coming back to Holland now and then, to develop film and make small prints. Contrary to before, I lost a bit being in touch with the moments of photographing (because I saw the results so much later than I was used to). It meant I was just photographing. Like before my photography was more a question of reacting to what I was meeting, than planning things. But before I was active with the results all the time, in thinking about them and printing them and using them in dummies. Now I was automatically forgetting what I had taken and perhaps therefor the images were less linked, or linked in a different way. Perhaps they belonged more and more to your unconscious universe.