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There is no use in a centre

February 28, 2021 1 Comment

The shape of time blogger logo by Anna Kriger

When and if one chooses to exhume anything from the past, to examine it through one’s work in life (be it painting or writing or sculpture), one becomes aware of it never being the experience itself, but rather the shape of the past our present makes. An artist, anyone person who is willing to remember and forget, is busy projecting her present self on the past, bathing it in the current mood and affect. It is as if time itself were a river. If through artifice one can build a less than terrifying past, one can hope and imagine a less than terrifying future...

As Gertrude Stein advises in Tender Buttons: “Act so there is no use in a center”...And what could that mean in relations to time? And specifically to any art work? If we give up a centre in a painting then all is important: formal and informal concerns of composition, negative space, colour and shape…the background and negative space is of equal value to the foreground, and what is excluded is as important is what is included. Imagine a world where giving each other space and benefit of the doubt was as important as commitment and deadlines? What kind of forgiveness or shame would be necessary in such a world? It is an idyllic proposition, to know one’s boundaries and to respect another’s, without ever having to tolerate shame or projection.

To live as if there is no centre is to let go of oneself to get lost in the reveries of both the past and the present, in any moment that gives us any grounding, and impetus to movement or stillness. Any choice (like any self) could be considered and decentralised.

For example, is going to grad school the thing that will shape your art career or moving to New York City? Both could be instrumental and an obstacle, but decentralised they are just choices and a way to live, nothing more or less. Here are some examples of original artworks that allow one’s eye to move around the composition, and let your mind wander along with it… a dream scape without any need for a sense of an ending or beginning. Good art, like good dreams, just are.


Bartmann faces from the River Thames by Ed J Bucknall. £49.99

Bartmann faces from the River Thames by Ed J Bucknall
Majia, naked, with apples by Linda Samson £900
Majia, naked, with apples by Linda Samson
Cielo azul by Smita Sonthalia £400
Cielo azul by Smita Sonthalia
Standing stone I by Caroline Nuttall-Smith £66
Standing stone I by Caroline Nuttall-Smith
Anna Kriger blogger 'The shape of time'

1 Response


March 05, 2021

So interesting, a beautiful thought provoking piece, thank you.

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