Updated: Feb 25, 2019
I imagine artworks as living beings that communicate freely amongst themselves. They interact with each other, exchange information, and even make love. I have no doubt that sometimes they gossip and talk about us as well.
Wherever I turn I see art, on the streets, in my own relationships, in other people's relationships, in living and inanimate nature. Everything around me is a parallel life that is dense with meaning. A special intelligence is showing me what’s essential and what’s not. It’s a language really, that I recognize and whose messages I respect.
C.G. Jung says that the archetype is the living, dynamic element of the collective unconscious, which flows through our psyche and rises in front of our eyes as an image. With this in mind, then our creation is no less alive.
I understand the archetype as an organ, a heart that beats, a cell in which DNA is written, and I see creation as a body, a heart, and a soul all together, an organism that even has free will. The artist is an incubator that transports the living elements and transforms them into living beings.
I’ve had many conversations with young people who are familiar with writing and they’ve often wanted to know how to approach it, what are the techniques (which, of course, do exist and are necessary) and how to best prepare through phases. I’ve always repeated this idea that has come to me from experience:
Writing happens through writing, not in thinking about writing, not in preparing for writing, but through writing alone.
All structural and conceptual preparations, all character drawings, everything that is, of course, important for every piece of work (which has a certain size and multi-layeredness), are just part of one dimension, from which the work is accessed and is by no means the only one. Writing takes place independently, or quite dependent, but nevertheless at its unexpected discretion. And not only does our mind, our heart and our skills are writing, but only when we start a wave of creation, everything suddenly begin to serve it.
Creation begins to breathe through us, surprises us, and reminds us that we are both the participant and the observer at the same time.
In other words, it is impossible to fully anticipate where our intention will really take us, because if we are honest, only the previous idea generates the very next one, doors open one by one. I believe the same applies to every art form. That's why for most artists it is really very hard to talk about their work.
The audience, on the other hand, is instinctively more aware of this phenomenon. People can generally recognize that some artwork communicates with them in a special way. Not only their observation, but their specific view produces levels of meanings that are not present at all for anyone else. The work that is recognized by a large number of people is therefore considered a masterpiece.
How Lars von Trier "ruined" my life
It happened sometime around the year 2000. I was still an inexperienced naive girl who loved and understood the movies. I graduated and even wrote my first professional script, which was well excepted, so I thought that I actually control some things related to creation. And then I watched Breaking the Waves (1996), directed by Lars von Trier. I don’t know how, but somehow, I didn’t see it the year it came out. And of course, there is a reason for that: Movies, as well as books and other art forms, find us when we are ready.
I think that was the first time I realized, although not the first time I experienced something similarly unexpected. With the help of von Trier, the film addressed me as an entity. And I know that I'm not the only one who shares this same experience.
I was first possessed, then devastated and lost. All that I had believed before, my naive illusions, all went down the drain. I felt frightened, wounded and left "in the middle of the sea" without aim or vision, and above all without faith. I remember I thought that I was left to the mercy of von Trier's ringing bells that also couldn’t help me. The destruction was fundamental.
I can say without exaggeration that this film "ruined" me for half a year. It was present wherever I went, whatever I was doing or thinking, it didn’t let me breathe. I simply let the movie enter, and once it was in, it started to behave like a vampire looking for blood.
Then, for the first time, I realized that with art, a person must be careful. We must take it very seriously. First, I was angry at von Trier and after Dancer in the Dark (2000) I quickly recognized it as a big "manipulation." It took me several years to recapitulate and begin to respect those films, and to understand that they were the ones that redefined my attitude towards film in general in an essential way. And not only that, they broke all my illusions, which I am more than grateful for today. I finally let von Trier get close again, when he was almost harmless. I felt no fear anymore, just sympathy for this great talent. It is quite certain that, above all, this film and his others first found him, tortured him, provoked him, and I want to believe, eventually rewarded him.
I know that to be true from my own experience now, since some of the scripts and plays I have written unexpectedly moulded my life in I way I never anticipated. And not just while I was helping them to come to life, but also afterwards, which is especially interesting. Once they came into reality, they became my reality, even when I didn’t want that at all. I learned that art is always a form of “psychomagic”. Jodorowsky speaks about that brilliantly in his book Manual of Psychomagic: The Practice of Shamanic Psychotherapy.
From the premise that works of art are living creatures, something very important comes out: When we hurt them or leave them, they suffer; when we dedicate ourselves to them and love them, they grow. When we think that we are controlling them, they dissipate. When we let them to love us freely, they can award us.
A man cannot own anything in this world, the people he loves, his children, his pets, or even his works of art—neither someone else’s nor his own. That truth can hurt, but once we truly accepted, it can free us. I think the next level of "I do not own an artwork," is "the artwork does not own me."
Perhaps that is exactly the key that unlocks every relationship on a higher level, the same one that opens the door to great and important art. After all, it is always about the relationship! Respect and you will be respected, love and you will be loved, give and you will receive.
Are your works independent of you? Do they inspire or frighten you?