Polish sociologist Zygmunt Baumann uses the term ‘liquid modernity’ to describe the current era of globalization and information as one of radical alterations in our perception of time and space. Baumann asserts that with less stability there is less subjugation, and therefore more flexibility, mobility and freedom – but with that also comes increased transience and constant flux. Even social structures are only stable for short periods of time.
Old patterns, structures, codes and rules are no longer ‘natural’ or reliable – there are too many and they contradict each other. The challenge today is to discover new patterns, or to put old structures into a new order.
In my paintings, I merge diverse structures. Some are derived from art history, like the drips of Jackson Pollock, which are indicative of a bygone era of modernity. Some patterns come from my everyday life, like splash stains found on walls and sidewalks. And some structures come from nature, like wild branches from a jungle or primeval forest, or the fleeting ripples on the surface of water.
The splashes and drips are metaphors for shapes and structures in flux. Their associations range from camouflage, graffiti, and barbed wire to diagrams of data and Google Earth maps. Sometimes the splashes look like explosions, which for some people might infer recent terror attacks, but I see them as reflections of the most radical change and conflict in general. Which also implies the possibility of a new beginning.
Nature in my paintings references ephemerality but also the eternal return, and the indelible rules of physics and biology. Nature also represents a resource or an escape, just as the Mediterranean Sea symbolizes these ideas, both for the tourist and the refugee.
Out of all these elements, I create a dynamic network to explore new connections and points of view. I break them, fuse them, and put them in a new order. I think in terms of complexity rather than linearity. I seek to blur the borders between abstraction and figuration, reality and imagination, utopia and the everyday, strategy and change, motion and rigidity.
My work occupies a realm between three-dimensional reality and the endless field of imagination. There exist multiple viewpoints within a single painting. I call this a fluid concept of space, which I reinforce with my painting technique. Essentially it’s a reversal of the painting process – instead of painting the form itself, I define a form by painting the negative space around it. This inverts one’s perception of foreground and background – what appears to lie in the foreground is actually the deepest layer of the painting. This process of layering is very similar to the techniques used in printmaking or in Photoshop – but nothing is digital or mechanized — everything is created in ‘analogue’ by hand.
Today in Europe, many people are questioning their identity and where they belong, fearful of change. It is difficult to face the conflicts and questions – either we are too close, overwhelmed by the complexity and details, or too far away – like a satellite – to be able to interact.
My paintings do not present judgments or answers. Instead they offer an invitation to question our perceptions, consider new approaches, and become more open to the unknown.