Nicolas de Staël – Five Apples – 1952
I am now one month into detailed scripting of my upcoming performance “Tin Drum is Back”. As mentioned in my last post, the narrative arc seems to be about evolving archetypes and levels of maturity.
In 2015, I was struck by lightning, by the work of fashion designer Dries Van Nooten. I wrote extensively about that experience here. It was the start of a more intense journey to let myself get touched by beauty, and to start experimenting with the creative orientation myself (Art academy, etc.)
Two years later, this 2015 expo is still resonating with me, and every time I tell the story of that experience, I get emotional, emotional like in tears of happiness and beauty. Happiness and bliss like a warm jelly feeling down your spine. I started paying attention to this emotion, opening myself to it, and wondering and exploring how it cracked me open (and very closed at other moments…)
Obviously, first thing that goes through mind, is the famous Leonard Cohen song “Anthem”, with the famous phrase:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
How the light gets in…. But I started wondering how the light gets OUT… Like my skin would be lattice. Like the skin of this musallah.
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) Riyadh / Saudi Arabia. Architect’s rendering of the musallah. Image Credit: Zaha Hadid Architects
What is needed for somebody to crack open like this? To get rid of all the ballast, and to stand in full onlyness ànd vulnerability ànd feeling happy with the way that is?
Another more recent moment when the lightning stroke was on a Saturday morning, where by full coincidence I hit the video of “Wild is the Wind” by David Bowie as part of the “David Bowie last 5 years” BBC documentary:
Wild is the Wind” is the first song of this amazing concert that is worth watching every of its 60 minutes. However, when he sings and smiles “you’re life itself” (at 2:40 and 4:10) that’s when shivers go down my spine and tears start rolling. Every time again.
Why is this? What is happening to me? Is Tin Drum about finally daring to stand in fire and vulnerability? Of letting my “onlyness” coming OUT through the crack(s)? Instead of hiding in a Hannibal-like shadow of complexity and impenetrability?
Film posters and book covers of Günther Grass' The Tin Drum
Cracking open seems to be about daring to stand in the fire, allowing the truth to come in and out, and allowing to loose myself and letting myself getting overwhelmed. It is about letting go of my masks, my defences.
Khurshed Dehnugara recently (my highlights) wrote about being overwhelmed in “cracking open”:
Being overwhelmed is something we are fearful of and at the same time can be helpful as we transition from one age to the next.
If our defenses are always solid, never breached, then the possibility of anything novel emerging is reduced. It often takes a moment of being overwhelmed before that part of us that we are defending can be seen. In the moment of being hurt, overloaded, caught out, tripped up or humiliated – we get a chance in those moments to see and work with the part of ourselves we spend the rest of our time enclosing in a protective shell.
As we spend time at the edges of what we know and can cope with, the container is strengthened. When we can’t cope, the cracks can allow us to integrate an experience that has been shielded for a lifetime; but refuses to go away or stop causing problems in the rest of our lives.
During my sabbatical, I am indeed spending time at the edges of what I don’t know and what I don’t know to cope with. At the edges of my existing communities, at the edges of new – more artistic – communities.
Also, the painting lets me re-discover the true meaning of being in the flow. But I have to get more clarity. Tell the story with fewer words, less images, less brush strokes, less gimmicks. I am trying to say too much. I am still trying too much to impress, not express.
“The more easy gimmicks, the more solid the content needs to be”, says my paint-coach Ann.
Extract of Petervan painting “The Containers” in process – Feb 2017
So many metaphors between paint and real life. The longing for clarity of touch, pitch, colours, harmonies, and chords. But for now, still too much noise, both physically and mentally.
The sweet spot is where the crack is
where frequencies and overtones create the mystic.
What are your cracks? When was the last time you built defences against standing in the fire? When was the last time you put up a wall and defences against it? When was the last time you allowed the crack to put a spell on you to get in touch with your true self?