Originally published in 1998 as » Daily Drawing Nr. 25

Another one of the two head thread. Remember the blue heads I sent Tuesday last week? Different mood here.

People often think of pictures as being descriptive. There has to be a story behind it. Probably personal. What did the painter aim at? What does he want to communicate?

In particular, with such a woman / man image, they suspect that this must be some kind of a portrait, a depiction of the personal story of the artist and his wife, to be precise. I’m afraid, this is not the case with my paintings.

It is seductive for me, too, to think this way. I caught myself many times doing this, although I should have known better for long. As I am not planning a painting, rather let it develop on its own, I know nothing about it. On the contrary, the painting will tell me something. Couldn’t this be something about me and my wife?

Since Freud, people believe in dreams. A lot is known about dreaming today. We all dream every night, some of us don’t even remember dreaming. Most forget about any dream within minutes. If we are kept from dreaming, we will soon be driven crazy. But what really dreaming is for? What does a particular dream tell?

Dream interpretation is a vital part in many therapeutical disciplines. It is firmly believed and often proven, that dreams relate to the dreamer and compensate his wake functioning. In this respect dreams can correct conscious attitudes. As a rule, the dream tells something about the dreamer only, and additionally, the dreamer does not know about it in his conscious state. And it is wise to assume, that all persons, animals, objects, moods, actions etc. of a dream reflect the dreamer only.

If I am a man and I dream of a woman, that’s again me. If I am a woman and dream of a man, that’s again me. It was the disciple of Freud, C.G. Jung, who first investigated into this field, describing typical figures appearing in many dreams, notably his own: The shadow, the wise old man, to name a few. He even postulated that there is a female figure in every man’s unconscious representing his female parts, called it Anima, and vice versa, Animus the male figure working in women.

So it is probably safe to assume that a male figure in my paintings represents my conscious ego, whereas a female figure represents my unconscious anima. Both are parts of myself and do not refer to the outside world. In particular, it would be a mistake to take them as a representation of me and my wife.

This way looked upon, the pictures can be read as kind of message of my unconscious showing which powers are active and want to be heard. It may very well be impossible to put the message into words. Like a dream, who does not have to be interpreted to be effective, a painting will work by just being looked at. Most art will work that way. Think of movies. They effect millions of people just by being looked at. Some talk about them, too, but this is not important.

We are all different and unique. And at the same time we are all the same. Hence art is possible. The artist produces a highly individual work, a painting, a poem, a play, a novel, a dance, a piece of music, a movie. Others can take it from there. And it may work for hundreds and thousands of years, across continents and cultures.

See also new scan  263