I’m very conscious of the fact that I need to reinvent myself, really need to see what boundaries I can find.
– Diane Victor –
This statement has stayed with me since reading the article Second Life in The Times last month. Exploring the creative impact a recent kidney transplant has had on one of South Africa’s greatest artists Diane Victor, Oliver Roberts playfully engages with what could be viewed as a near-death experience.
What strikes me as I re-read this article is how focused and determined death can make us. I am reminded of Austin Kleon that suggests artists should read obituaries because they are ‘like near-death experiences [but they] aren’t really about death; they’re about life’ he states in his book Show Your Work! Kleon rightfully quotes the late Steve Jobs in this regard:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything … just fall[s] away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
As a previous ICU nurse I was confronted with potential death on a minute-to-minute basis. I can honestly say that this 20 year experience truly altered me, and I was never in doubt as to what was essential. Life and death were translucent ends of the same continuum. The boundaries were clear.
Now, sitting in my studio as an artist, that thought has become a lot fuzzier and less defined. I find myself longing for that clarity of conviction, wondering how I could re-find that space as an artist?
Is it at all possible to find such boundaries within art making ..?
For Diane Victor, the seeking of boundaries, of reinventing herself has led her to rework previously failed etchings. Apparently somewhat unsettled by this process (of shameful sentimentality) it has allowed her the means to reinvent herself again creatively. My mind wanders off and I contemplate reworking artworks that I would deem as failed. It might potentially be a place to start from.
Moving in from the outer boundary …