Artist’s Statement

“Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?”
Edgar Allan Poe

When I just started out as an artist, I had many radical ideas about what art should be or shouldn’t be, what art should or shouldn’t do, and I would debate for hours about the purpose of art.Almost 2 decades later, I find myself a different artist, and I hadn’t even noticed. It’s like the frog that jumps out of the boiling water when you throw it in, but boils to death in the pot when you heat it slowly. Only uncertainty is: I don’t know how many degrees I turned around. Could be 180°, but even so 360°. Nor in what direction I went. Even if I land in the same spot, I will still be in another moment. After all, we spin around the whole time. The movements of our bodies create the wind of change.So do I have new, maybe also radical (or do we call it “rigid” at my age? It’s kind of like “eccentric” versus “crazy”) ideas about art ? Yes. Will they be obsolete in a couple of years ? Probably. Will that make me an inconsequent artist ? No. Opinions are made to be changed. It’s their sole purpose. And maybe so is also the sole purpose of art itself. To change.Not in the meaning of “to change the minds of people” or, even worse, “to change the world”, I am talking about art having no other purpose than to change. Therefor art equals change.

Every work of art has a conception, a birth, a life, and, eventually, a death. Because a work of art is after all but material and material will always decay. Change.

In order to see, feel and live art as change, I think the artist should allow himself to change constantly, create parallel universes where other exciting things take place. And not just live them the one next to the other. Not consecutively, but at the same time, and at the same place. Be alive and dead, like Schrödinger’s cat. Living your parallel universes at the same time in the same place. That is the challenge. And therefor maybe the sole purpose of an artist: to live parallel universes at the same time in the same place.

For me, the only way to be happy, and I don’t use this word lightly, is when I abandon any and every single rule there is about making art. Art should come as naturally as a bowel movement. Or an orgasm. If it doesn’t come, don’t force it.

Art doesn’t have to do anything, except, touch you. But then again, even that is not completely true. If I want to be loyal to my beliefs, I would have to say that art doesn’t have to do anything. Period.

There is no judge in this universe that the artist creates. In the perfect universe of the perfect artist, there are simply no judges. Not even the artist himself. There are only judges in the hostile outside world. Where humans live that buy and sell art, where art is an investment and a status symbol. Part of this statement is true, but let’s insert a nuance. Owning art is a status symbol. Art itself isn’t. Because art is nothing but art itself. And it serves absolutely no purpose. And perfection is boring. That’s why, I think, all my art works have a twist. An abnormality. A malfunction. A hint of insanity. And a lot of uglyness. De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum. What the Neanderthales would have considered just fine, would have been too rough for the Romans. And some people like ruins too. It reminds them of their lives, I guess. Makes them think about their own decay. Artists die. Art dies. Dust to dust.

To finish, I’d like to point out an elephant in the room that some people try to avoid: art is not for everyone. It is an elitist product. And it is condescending to think that we have to elevate the masses to a higher cultural level. I have accepted that some people don’t care for art at all, don’t want to be instructed about it, let alone attend a gallery opening or buy a work of art. And that’s fine. They don’t care. And we neither. I’ve been told many times that this opinion of mine was in fact even more condescending. That I found myself to be elevated above the rest and that my product should not be shown or sold to just anyone. As if often is, most people don’t really listen carefully, make their opnion and prepare their answer before you complete what you are saying. I’m saying exactly the opposite. I respect people’s right not to care about art.

I said that in a couple of years, my new, radical / rigid ideas would probably be obsolete. I was wrong. There are already. Right now, as we arrive at the bottom of this page. It is time. Time to change. Time to make art.

DAve SChweitzer, Antwerp, Belgium, 26 July 2016.