“I needed a different language: A language that was a language of affection and reflection.” (*)
I borrow these words from Antonio Tabucchi, whose first language was Italian, but then adopted Portuguese as his language of "affection and reflection" because like him, I too needed a new language, in my case, a language of expression and affection. Once upon a time experienced art as a “foreigner”, so to speak. I didn't feel it was a world I "belonged" to, and it felt far off and distant, until I decided to make it my own.
I visited museums and art galleries many times like a tourist visits a foreign country: Exploring every object from a distance, admiring and loving them, but not realizing that I too belonged to the world of art-making and that I could take part in it wholeheartedly. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten that being human endowed me with the inherent capacity to create and that artistic expression is hardwired in me.
Finding this new language has been magical in many ways, but what I have most come to love is that in it I have found an expressive outlet where I can incorporate my entire being. My life’s endeavours until I began making art seemed to be able to only partially accommodate the multiple aspects of my self. Art has become not only familiar, but also hospitable and intimate. My artistic quest, not only welcomes past achievements and discoveries of my life’s pilgrimage, but also imposes no constraints or inhibitions. It only asks that I show up and allow myself to be inspired. In art I have found an undertaking broad enough and generous enough to contain all the aspects of my life and self, and the reason collage has become my preferred medium of expression lies precisely within this breadth.
Collage allows me to reflect on the beauty and creative potential of disruption and incongruity; I see it as analogous to life itself. With it I am able to fully embrace and appreciate that diverse and disparate elements of a composition coalesce and coexist to result in a coherent whole, which make up a unique and unrepeatable a work of art, such as life itself.
The overall beauty and cohesion of the work of art –and of life as as analogy– consists of the combination of all the disparate elements that emerge from the creative process: Inspiration, hard work, intentionality, serendipity and messiness, all these elements are essential in bringing about each piece of the collage. Each piece of the college, in turn, is essential to the whole. If any individual element in this elaborate patchwork of essentials becomes cut off or made to stand alone, it would result in the loss not only of that element's it’s raison d’être but also in the dismantling of the character, distinctiveness and beauty of the whole.
Note (*) The title´s quote is from Italian author Antonio Tabucchi, who upon visiting Lisbon, fell deeply in love with the city, with Portuguese language and with the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, and decided to make Lisbon his hometown and Portuguese, his life’s passion