Magritte, Duchamp and Indeterminacy

“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”   Marcel Duchamp

How do we create a visual representation of our dreams?

It occurs to me that our memory is greatly responsible for such visions, and when I think of Magritte who yearned for his waking life to be such as it was in his dreams and I consider his use of common objects and how he juxtaposes them in his work, my suspicions are confirmed.

Why else would our inspiration lead us to create works that have a meaning greater than their physical suggestions?

Surely our subconscious has a few things to say!

The curtains, in Magritte’s Le Beau Monde, set against the cloudy sky imply that the sky is but another curtain; while the sky acts as a curtain and conceals, the curtains simultaneously reveal the sky….Now we have something to go on!

Interpretation becomes clear when we allow our instinctual mind to wander through the corridors of the memory banks of images from our everyday lives.

As artists we can chose to depict the material world in a literal and precise manner, as the Surrealists did, unlike mere retinal art, we can push the limits of a pictorial reality that goes beyond that of our imagination. We can have a more conceptual approach in suggesting meanings without spelling it all out.  This poetic approach allows for greater freedom…or does it?

Magritte and his gang are amazingly deep and poetic once we try to decipher what they had to say!

The same depth and poetry is clearly found in the father of conceptualism, Marcel Duchamp’s indeterminate work.  A wonderful example is his The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (more commonly known as The Large Glass).

With the Spirits Collection I have reached a point where two worlds amalgamate.  The purely figurative and literal has brought me, over the years, to a place where the Angels and the Phantoms can express so much more beauty than that which we can see with our eyes.  The poetry of an open ending to a story, the reading between the lines…that something left unsaid….

The indeterminacy of my Angels and Phantoms, with areas of their outer bodies missing not only leads us to be introspective, but ultimately results in a level of determinacy provided by our own inner world; we fill in the gaps.   Their inner world meets ours reminding us that poetry is so much more than just a six letter word.