My own personal Paradise: Art
M.A.I.S."Das Paradies im Bunker", Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany 2003
Material: 2 oil barrels, neon light, photo, mirror,
In art we create a utopia that promises us comfort, that takes up the injuries inflicted by the world and turns them around. In art we have the possibility to depict all our dreams and utopias. For the dreams we encounter at night and also sometimes by day tell us much about how to conduct ourselves. I don’t mean that we should get lost in our fantasies like a daydreamer or someone who suffers from a reality deficit. I don’t mean those fortunate lunatics who, because of their so-called “illness”, can or must keep under cover. I am thinking of a consciously designed creative life that every single one of us should make as inventive as possible. I believe that an artistic person has the mission of getting to active grips with his dreams and making something of them, of being alert and observant and deploying his observations to reevaluate and, if needed in the most difficult and disagreeable cases, give a name to the wounds we bear.
Even in an intolerable war or emergency situation, even where it’s a question of naked survival, hope of a well-earned paradise lingers. For the human species has the god-given nature of being creative enough to produce at least a segment of paradise.
One thing seems certain: the pain caused by the loss of a paradise is what first makes us notice paradise as a fact. Over time, each of us has lost his own paradise, and personal loss goes along with the recognition of the vacuum it leaves behind. It is self-knowledge that drives us humans on. The possibility of seeing ourselves as creators has driven and still drives us.
You gaze into the mirror and discover yourself.
Translated from the German by Jeanne Haunschild