I went to a museum yesterday. I was originally planning on looking only at Ron Mueck’s sculptures, but ended up spending more time looking at two photography exhibitions. I decided to write about this even though in my mind there are thoughts of ‘Oh you’ve written about this topic several times already,’ but I certainly require to debunk and expose for myself the exact thoughts experienced when looking at photographs. This is then to expose another part of the personality that I created for myself as a ‘sensitive person’ to images that I have defined as ‘art’ and experiencing at times that ‘no one could feel what I could feel’ when looking at an image. This was more prominent in the past and it was also experienced when listening to particular music or reading particular books – in essence when consuming another’s expression.
The ‘Artist’ personality
The memory that comes up and that I probably didn’t expose for myself yet was when I went to see Gabriel Orozco’s major exhibit in the Palacio de Bellas Artes here in Mexico City. I had recently became aware of his work back then which created or I created a great ‘rift’ within me in terms of his photographs, which was another form of comparing the stuff I was just ‘playing around with’ at that time with photography and how he had ‘already done it.’ After watching the entire exhibit that day, I went to the toilet and cried in the bathroom – why? I don’t know it was like a sense of everything I wanted to do is already done so ‘what the hell am I up for?’ That was during my first year of art school. He became this elusive idea of what I wanted to be, really successful and really wanting the kind of recognition that would enable me to share with the world my views and perspectives on life as there’s always been a desire to share with others how I see the world.
I met the guy one day because he went to my school to record some TV program about him, I even approached him as the ‘fan’ that I was and told him how his work had inspired me – but in fact it was more like being able to relate to how he views the world. Then I gave him some of my old tin boxes filled with dried peels of litchis and I asked someone to take a picture of us. Funny but he is certainly like the Mexican art rockstar and I felt even ‘cooler’ because he studied in my school. It all became irrelevant afterwards though.
I see that the pattern that plays out after visiting an art exhibit, has been an ‘underlying’ experience that I hadn’t been able to pin point for myself then – this is in my mind not wanting to admit that I am comparing ‘my work’ to others and wondering ‘why am I not there on those walls as well?’
Part of my desires within art – as I’ve previously exposed – were that of recognition and so what emerges is really that resonant aspect that I have attached to ‘art.’ This has played out in a constant polarity coming-and-going point because I am well aware of how I made the decision to not participate in that, yet still having such thoughts coming up which is part of the inherent programming I had attached to ‘marlen as the artist’ which is a tag that makes me revolt a bit when I read it, which is just part of the aspects that we expose for ourselves to be able to walk the correction into equalization.
So, through this process I decided to not ‘seek’ such fame anymore, I stopped any effort to seek for places to show my work and focused on walking my own process. I see there has been also this constant ‘projected blame’ on to my own decision to ‘walk/dedicate myself to process and Desteni’ and leaving all things art aside, merely going to school and do what I had to do without giving it any further input into it, which is certainly required if you ‘wanna be someone’ within the art world. Though this blame is certainly only at a thought level because I wouldn’t be able to be standing in front of a canvass for hours every day pretending to be doing something ‘there’ while being absolutely disconnected from the world I live in ‘here’ – which is how I used to be living my life as an artist. It’s cool to see how this is just a thought-based reaction without really taking into consideration what this would mean in reality such as ‘dedicating myself to art full-time’ in terms of creating art in the most traditional ways. We can certainly direct art to be whatever we want it to be in terms of being able to support ourselves. I tend to be an absolutist within my life which is something I have to balance out to give myself proper time for everything and not just renounce to ‘the world’ for the sake of ‘only’ doing something and that’s it.
Going to Museums
There has been a pattern that comes up when ‘visiting museums,’ there is a point that ‘drives’ me to it which I simply haven’t been able to realize ‘why’ I go – It can be to get some sort of ‘inspiration’ which I’ve been calling feedback and simply seeing what is being created in the institutionalized art world; the other one is for the creation of the experiences which I am still ‘seeking’ to get from going to see art – that’s one of the points I can see is something I am not fully admitting because of perceiving that is dishonest- though it’s even more so to keep it secret even for myself.
Back to the Museum point. These two particular photography exhibitions were of Mexican photographers from the first half of the past century and the pattern that emerges when watching some of them is: ‘they’ve done it all already’ or ‘I do similar stuff, why aren’t my pictures on museums?’ or ‘why am I not famous?’ ‘Why haven’t I sold any images yet?’ – well, by this I mean in an actual art market.
Back to the point to debunk here: I am in front of the image and I think ‘I’ve done stuff like this’ – comparison
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react with a mental judgment to an image I am viewing and immediately link it to ‘my work’ wherein comparison emerges as a way of being able to ‘equate’ what I do to that which is considered ‘art’ and is inserted in such sphere/ category of ‘importance,’ ‘value’ and ‘admiration’ that I have given and imprinted to images within the context of a museum as ‘consecrated art’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to wonder ‘why I am not there?’ which is a reaction that comes after comparing ‘what I do’ to what I see in museums and seeking my own benefit of ‘being recognized/ admired’ through presenting photographs, just so that ‘I’ in the form of photographs could be looked at equal-to such artists which people have already placed in a pedestal, creating a sphere of respect and recognition around them, which is what I would aspire to get to as well.
I forgive myself that I haven’t accepted and allowed myself to realize that within comparing ‘what I do’ to others is in fact seeking to make myself ‘worthy’ at my own eyes, worthy at the eyes of others and seeking a form of validation through ‘stuff’ that I do which I haven’t accepted and allowed myself to give to myself.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to go into a wallowing point while ‘admiring’ someone’s work because I consider that ‘it’s been done, what am I doing then?’ – in this existing as the desire to be ‘special’ and ‘unique’ in terms of creating/ taking ‘unique’ pictures.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to give ‘value’ and ‘worth’ to something that I can conceive as ‘unique’ and ‘special’ within my own value-schemes which is nothing else but a make-believe system that supports no one, that is in fact not real and that cannot be of any support to who I really am as Life here.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to go into memories of people ‘recognizing my work’ back in the day and experiencing it as a ‘consolation’ to my self created defeatism the moment I am staring in front of the photograph, in means of ‘uplifting myself’ when seeing myself ‘diminishing’ me according to this process of comparing ‘my work’ to others’ work.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create this possession around ‘what I do’ as ‘my work’ and within this creating an entire personality and alternate reality of myself based on ‘what I do’ being ‘my own’ as something that defines me, that values who I am and that gives me some type of ‘self-worth’ which is in fact a creation outside of myself.
I stand in front of a photograph I like for whatever reasons I could find in the moment – light, textures, contrasts, topic which I usually coming from a point where I can ‘relate’ to it - and what I see is wanting to ‘possess’ the picture, be the owner of it, being able to say ‘I took this’ and be proud of it/ feel good about it. This is really funny when writing it out because we can see it’s all ego bs, but it’s how it exists at the moment, so best to expose it for what it is so that I become aware of what plays out in the back of my head while watching these photographs, masking it/ overshadowing the initial experience and thoughts with ‘amazement’ and ‘profound attention’ which is me just trying to eat the whole thing up and make it ‘my own.’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to ‘possess’ and want to ‘own’ that which I believe is superior to myself, that which I see is ‘better than me’ in order to be able to ‘control’ it and feel ‘equally-cool’ to it within my self-created schemes of value/ worth that are only relevant to myself in my mind and have no direct reference to myself in this reality where a picture is just a picture and I am just an observer of that picture – end of story.
The point of debunking this entire sentimentalism experienced when ‘looking at art’ has been a point I’ve worked with for quite some time now. I remember talking about being a visual vicious almost at the beginning of my process, which is what I have been deliberately stopping in the sense of making everything ‘more than it is’ within my mind – but I still take photographs and I still run into these thoughts and participate within them. I’m not as obsessed as before, but it’s still playing out whenever I am placing myself in a room where all you have to do is look at videos and photographs and sounds that may accompany them.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to experience a sense of ‘despair’ whenever I am done looking at an image that I liked just because of me having wanted to be ‘the one’ that was there, hanging on a wall as a photograph. It’s all ego based certainly but there is also a desire to share and to ‘make others feel what I feel’ which is also personality-based and won’t ever be ‘real’ in terms of all experiences being but a mind creation.
In essence in terms of photographs is just presenting reality to another from a certain perspective, it shouldn’t be any different to anything else like reading, looking at our environment, watching TV or any other thing we do with our eyes = no added ‘value’ or ‘worth’ within that and just take reality for what it is – they can either be supportive or not, it’s not about comparing myself to each word/ image as words just like images and this world in its entirety is just here and we can only use them as tools to express and convey a message without trying to make of the message something ‘profound,’ or seeking to ‘touch the core of the being’ with it which is what I tried to do somehow in the past.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to project on to ‘what I do’ my own desire for recognition and desire to please others wherein I wanted people to experience what I was experiencing within me, I wanted to make others ‘see what I saw/ how I saw it’ for the sake of creating a sense of ‘relationship.’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to seek to ‘connect’ with others without realizing I haven’t even gotten to know myself completely which is the primary point of connection/ self-recognition that I actually sought for within beginning an art-career.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create a desire to ‘connect’ with others without allowing me first to ‘connect with myself’ as the point of self-acceptance and self-revelation wherein I stop seeking others to ‘confirm’ who I am and give ‘value’ to it, but instead I walk the process to get to know myself.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to seek ‘freedom’ through creating art in separation of myself instead of realizing that getting to know myself and creating myself is the actual freedom one can give oneself in this lifetime.
When it all began….
Memory pops up – when I began painting, I did a bunch of stuff and would keep it to myself. I created an ‘msn group’ to share them with some friends I had in the internet back then whose opinions ‘mattered’ to me in the sense of them being also into writing or music. I became then more ‘aware’ of the paintings having an impact on others, this is probably the moment where I started making of these drawings and paintings something ‘more’ because they started getting recognition and admiration from others. The moment that I showed it in ‘real life’ to my friends, they would also like it and appreciate it the same way, which began creating a certain ‘fulfillment’ within me after I had only expressed myself in what I deemed the ‘cheapest way possible’ in a literal sense of what that implies. Yes money is also part of the limitations to create art obviously.
When watching some of the photographs at the museum – besides the entire inner tantrum of ‘why aren’t my pictures here?/ why am I not recognized?’ there is this desire to want those people to see what I do and probably get equal recognition from them. This is probably why meeting such ‘artist’ I mentioned earlier and giving him the link to my blog seemed like something pertinent to do – lol.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to want to be recognized by the people that I have deemed as ‘superior’/ ‘good’/ ‘masters’ in what they do so that I could have a ‘space’ next-to-them wherein I see and realize I have been keeping a sense of value and worth upon people wherein I become my own measuring point to ‘become like them,’ but from the ‘seeking fame/ recognition’ perspective to eventually ‘out do them.’
This is my own capitalist mind in the form of ‘innocent values’ attached to images and art creation – fascinating because as much as I could have criticized the exorbitant prices that art-pieces are sold for, I have been giving them just the same type of value and superiority according to my own schemes of what they are worth.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to be devaluing or not valuing myself which is the inferiority play out whenever I react and seek ‘recognition’ from what I perceive as ‘great artists’ and ‘great people’ which is another way of wanting to manipulate the world to suit my needs and desires of being recognized.
There is nothing wrong within taking someone as an example – yet the point is being aware of how to stand equal-to that instead of creating an entire comparison point wherein we try to either ‘equate’ ourselves to the person from the ego perspective, to eventually ‘out do’ them or actually supporting ourselves to become more effective in what we do, whatever the action/ doing is about.
I forgive myself that I haven’t accepted and allowed myself to look at art unconditionally from people that are ‘famous’ = recognized by the system, and instead accessing a projected valuing-system wherein I become the measuring point in relation to them wherein I am comparing myself to others’ creations and from there, assessing ‘how good/ bad I am’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to actually go to museums and watch photographs not from the entire starting point of ‘self enjoyment’ and self-reflection, but as an actual measuring point in terms of ‘where I stand’ in comparison to them.
This brings up a memory of a point that I could identify myself with when watching the movie ‘Pollock’ who was btw the first painter that really got me into wanting to paint. He appears saying one of his ‘famous’ quotes: ‘Fuck Picasso! he’s done it all’ while being drunk as hell. That’s the same I could experience in that moment when reacting emotionally to seeing the work of artists and comparing myself to them.
Funny because I had deemed myself not as an ‘artist’ but as someone that paints, takes photographs, draws and makes some videos for the sake of enjoyment. But when it comes to relating to ‘other artists,’ the self definition comes up and what is existing then is this desire to be ‘at the same height.’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to use humbleness as a mask to cover up my own desires for recognition – no wonder polarity is such a fuck up really, both poles perpetuate one another.
When watching these photographs and video by Suter other points emerged – besides the ‘I’ve made a video just like that, I have a photo just like that’ points, the money aspect came up. I read all the institutions and sponsors of his work which gives me an idea of how he’s able to print photographs on gesso or use massive copper plates as the media for his photographs. He reminded me of another artist from Colombia which became part of another ‘downfall’ at that time in terms of discovering artists and being ‘profoundly touched’ by their work- lol whatever that meant at that time which is something along the lines of becoming emotional, I would cry about these type of things like ‘being too sensitive’ for the world and using photographs as a way to make others see what I saw, wanting to be ‘understood’ without realizing that only mind systems seek for recognition, seek to be understood and ultimately seek to be ‘special’ or ‘different to the rest of the people’ due to such ‘view’ on life.
All about the same personality traits.
So, I’ve opened up the point here which is a superiority/inferiority mechanism that is triggered when comparing myself to others that I deem as ‘good’ at something, this can be extended to virtually everything and it can only be ego based wherein I am judging myself, my expression and what I do and then projecting it in comparison to another’s expression and abilities, which is literally wanting to run a race against ‘air’ itself because it’s all based on mental schemes of what is of value and worth in relation to others. A reverend mindfuck indeed.
Coming back Here
This is something that I had written out last Saturday and left it ‘hanging’ for a while because of perceiving that I had opened up a ‘vast’ point and that it required a major re-cap to continue, which I realized now when I got myself ‘back to it’ that it was all a mind creation of it, just as everything else that I perceive is ‘too much’ and ends up being nothing else but a mere idea of it being ‘too much’ in my mind.
I went to another museum yesterday, this time being more aware of being driven by the general material that has been emerging around this particular exhibit which is what caught my attention. This time I got to see stuff that was challenging the current accepted concepts of identity, economy, society and the general names we’ve given to everything in this world, turning it all into something very obvious to see and become aware of once that you get a proper read of the work – which is something that I still doubt happens in its totality as a form of becoming an educational tool. I see this ‘flaw’ in these type of conceptual works, you require a certain reference and knowledge to be able to ‘get it’ otherwise it remains as an intellectual non-comprehensible joke.
At least this time this exhibition showed more of an overall reflection on the current system we’re living in which is something that must definitely be expanded as a general activity of us human beings living in this current context, starting questioning it to see how we have configured it this way.
This brings us back to the point of self-creation as being our own work of art wherein we redefine art to the actual creation of ourselves as Equals wherein non of this entire value-system mindfuck will be able to exist because it’s all been inherently linked to an entire star-system in the art world wherein only a ‘selected few’ get to be ‘on top of the world’ and getting all the money and recognition while the rest are left outside of the circuit in its entirety.
This entire system we’re living in is based on competition which is linked to the money system in all ways as well, therefore this will become an obsolete aspect once that we are able to live and express regardless of any specific ‘framework’ of reference such as the ‘art world,’ we’ll be able to create and live and use art as a point of self-reference instead of making of it an entire ‘entity’ of ‘our own’ that can be compared and valued when placed against others and go to the extent of ‘valuing’ ourselves according to how it is judged/ perceived by others. Individuality will not be a synonym of specialness, uniqueness as the usual connotations of value/ worth we’ve attached to it, but as an equal-existent expression within its own set of conditions that cannot possibly be ‘the same’ for all individuals, yet equally able to express and create as there will be no limit to this in the form of a savage monetary system that is currently nullifying the ability to express for many beings in this world.
Suggested read: the picture world and self expression