I was trying to paint a picture today, but seems the color i was using was just a pigment of my imagination...


I can already name at least five paintings where the main subject is a woman with her back to the viewer. Who is she? What is she doing? IS she doing anything? Is she waiting for something? For someone?



You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  

Vilhelm Hammershoi - The empty room

I want to thank Monty python for the Hammershoi in my life. Now THAT is a sentence you don’t hear every day. But it is true. As Hammershoi is not really a name that is on every great artist lists, or even on the 'artists with strange names' list, I only learnt about Hammershoi's existence from a documentary Michael Palin made a couple of years ago, and I know Michael Palin from Monty python so I always listen when he says something interesting.

And Palin (unlike the female American imbecile with the same name) has a personality so charming and so genuinely infectious in its curiosity and its adoration of real art, I could do nothing but fall in love, like he did, with this strange enigmatic almost unknown Danish artist.

Hammershoi is the artist of showing you what is not there. The space where something might happen, or might have happened, or maybe not. A space.

Without  going through his work, I can already name at least five paintings where the main subject is a woman with her back to the viewer. Who is she? What is she doing? IS she doing anything? Is she waiting for something? For someone?

These Danish people are strange. Why can't he just paint the woman looking at us like a normal person? And the thing that is even more appealing, at least for me, is that the paintings themselves are extremely understated and classical in nature. They almost look like the other side of a canvas a Vermeer is painted on. He gets the front, hammershoi gets the back.
Why do I use just a few, muted colours? I’ve no idea. I can’t really say anything on the subject.
It seems perfectly natural to me, but I can’t say why.
On the other hand, I have found already two artists, living and working today, who have an almost unhealthy fixation on the back of the neck of soft skinned women. It's a kind of a fetish I guess, and unlike other fetishes, not a completely strange one. The back of the neck is indeed extremely sexy, but without being sexy. Or extreme. It is a hint, a suggestion, a promise.

There are a couple of paintings which actually show people from the front. But it's ok, even great artists have boring work on occasion. That is not Hammershoi. Front is for everybody else, for the 'common' artists.
Hammershoi was intersted in the room itself on the same level of importance as the subject, and was poetic enough to describe it perfectly in the title of one of his paintings - Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunbeams.
I’m utterly convinced that a painting has the best effect in terms of its colour the fewer colours there are.

Another one of Hammershoi's eccentricities is that on many occasions he completely left out the main character and just painted empty rooms. Or did he? For some strange reason, or for some strange talent, the rooms are never really empty. It is almost as if they are haunted, or if you don’t believe in the paranormal, they look as if the woman just left. She will be right back.
It is the space in between. A room in waiting.

But she will be back. Don’t get too excited. She will probably stand with the back to you when she does. And don’t get too excited is a good advice. After all, a Danish painter who paints empty rooms…excitement is not the first thing that jumps to mind.
I wonder what is she doing. What is she thinking.
I wonder.
Give me more art that makes me wonder.
is that really too much to ask?