I made the flames lick the surface of the painting in such a way that is recorded the spontaneous traces of the fire. But what is it that provokes in me this pursuit of the impression of fire?
Why must I search for its traces?
– Yves Klein –
This question resonates with me. The quest to capture invisible traces fuels my art making. It is what draws me. It is what inspires me. Like Klein, I have often wondered what the driving force behind it could be. From where the impetus…?
Klein was drawn to use fire as can be seen in this short film where he performs his 1962 ” Fire Painting” series. Here, the traces of pouring water are clearly visible, capturing the tracing as it happens in real-time. It is a mesmerizing moment. It is a moment of truth.
The act of tracing is a spiritual experience for me. It is distanced from the ego-self. It requires a humility in order to channel and be channelled. It is soundless, silent, happening, movement, journey, pathway and time. It is anchored in the corporeality of being.
Recently, I had the privilege of seeing a specific image by the late Namibian photographer, Paul van Schalkwyk. Having noted the image in an article on van Schalkwyk by Tiara Walters in The Sunday Times (April 12 2015), nothing could have prepared me in seeing the actual Etosha Pan (2010). This image, depicting gemsbok moving across a dry Etosha Pan records the traces of the gemsbok’s movements. It is vast, isolated and lonely. It is reflects hardship and endurance, set in temporality. The driving force here is the search for water, the giver of life in the Etosha Pan.
Perhaps it is a similiar search, the search for traces. It’s the search for life.