April 15th-May 6th, Pecsbagota Residency.
Feelings are not like facts. They can never be verified. Trying to visualize a feeling, you will always be moving in circles. The coming three weeks I will be artist in residence at POST 15 in Pecsbagota, SW Hungary. Time to rethink and rework my earlier projects on the ephemeral concept of "home".
April 16th - Looking outside at a little window.
Looking through a window at a window. Where does it go from here?
April 17th - Easter memories.
My oldest memory from Easter is a small white/red striped net from cotton with a few chocolate eggs in colored staniol - one egg bigger than the others. Also a large pink sugar egg and an orange. I can see the image of the net very vividly, especially the orange. It must have been 1948/1949. I assume in those days getting an orange was still something very special. Who gave me the net I cannot remember.
April 18th - Good times, bad times.
Yesterday I found in an abandoned house this album. Empty except for the transparant corners from times gone by. Confronted by these obsolete pages - my memory starts filling the empty corners. I am forced to remember images long forgotten. Good times, bad times - no arbitration. We are not the master of our memories.
April 19th - Just imagine.....
Just imagine waking up every morning with this quality of light...
When I walk around in the house I keep watching the light. My hart jumped up a bit yesterday morning. I looked again today, but it was not there. Was it only the surprise of this fist happy encounter - no, I could catch it with my phone.
April 20th - No Man's Land.
Stepping over a threshold is an act with great meaning. In one seemingly insignificant step you move in two opposite directions - in- and outside. Two different worlds separated by this minimal rectangle - no man's land in home-deco.
In 2002 I constructed the word HEMWEH - a tilted palindrome on the crossroad of a number of northern languages. Which side I move, I will always be in limbo. In the same period I wrote the sentence:"Ich möchte, ich hätte ein Heimweh (I wished I could be homesick)".
April 21st - Secret sanctuary.
Arvo Pärt - the Estonian composer - spoke in a radio interview with great affection about the old house of his grandma. He had spent many happy summers in that cottage, hidden in the sand dunes on the shores of the Baltic. How he had made his fond memories of her and the house into his secret sanctuary. When lack of time kept him from traveling, then reminding the sound and smell of washing waves and salty air was enough to revitalise his inspiration.
April 22nd - The green green grass of home.
The hills and small vineyards around Pegsbagota are not area's of outstanding beauty. I walked up this evening to look for the abandoned houses, the villagers had told me about. But the ravage of time had hit them too hard. In the last rays of sunlight I found my way to the end of the road. There the grass is always greener.
April 23rd - The playful art of practical decoration.
The farm culture along the western border of Eastern Europe is often very colorful. But also in China flower decorations on whatever materials have always been very popular. I saw many tapestries with wildlife decorations on both sides of the Finnish border. And - to my great surprise - in a yurt on the grasslands in Inner Mongolia. What have we lost in western middle class culture, now we put so much value on following trends with a certain level of sophistication. Why can't we simply show what we like, instead of who we want to pretend to be.
This little hallway is not only practical - doubling as a greenhouse - at the same time it is very welcoming. What you see, is what you get.
April 24th - Love for sale.
Over time I learned that you can never buy enough to fill the gap between reality and your imagination.....
April 25th - Dreams and memories.
Neither dreams nor memories make pictures.
April 26th - Piece of bacon.
Rural life in all its beauty has put me back on my own two feet. Keep it simple has always been my motto.
April 27th - good company.
This happy man made my day.
April 28th - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
In the week that Robert Pirsig died, I am introduced to Lajos - a very warm and welcoming retired miner. We meet at his adorable shed in his large vineyard. From here you have the most magnificent view on Pécs. He not only owns this vineyard, but also a considerable orchard. Although his shed may not exactly look like Zen, in a way it is. Everything here is real and authentic - no artificial humbug. Lajos is proud of his shed, his wine, his fruits and his wife, who makes the most wonderfull jams and juices from what he brings home. I go home with a few early mushrooms and a lovely bunch of flowers.
April 29th - For everything there is a season.
"For everything there is a season....A time to breakdown and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance......."
April 30th - This is not a folly!
I am always sad when I see a beautiful building crumbling. Once built with hope, then loved and lived in and now left to stand for itself.....Like old people, physically, mentally and emotionally drained. Neither needed nor missed by anybody. At its best an old photo in an album. Until also that is swallowed by time.
May 1st - a new dawn....
Two weeks here, time to take stock - disappointments, surprises. What did it bring and what is left, that can be accomplished the coming week. Am I still moving around in circles - beating around the bush - not reaching any results or conclusions?
Brooding and pondering at home did not do me much good, so I set out for the hills. The lush green and fresh air cleared my brains. A ray of sunlight brought new energy.
May 2nd - He that cannot keep a penny.....
To visualize the concept of home can be very complicated. But it can also be as simple as an earthen pot and a bunch of plastic flowers.
May 3rd - On photography.
Memories are somewhat like mirror images. They reflect parts of what happened, but in a different context. The same holds true for photography. An image never tells the full story. I now look very different at the photographs of my youth - all pictures of a happy family. Time has offered me a glimpse behind that beautiful velvet curtain.
May 4th - lasting memories.
"Home" lies not in the financial value of things, but in the love and attention that is given. When life is tough such a trivial thing as colored kitchen paper can make a difference. And even when it is clear that the battle was lost, this small gesture could evoke a lasting memory.
May 5th - Early one morning.
"Here is Memory walking in the dark. There are no pictures of her as she is."
'Home" is a feeling.
These three weeks I have been collecting very different images, but photographes themselves don't tell stories. Images however, can awake associations. Based on memories, all very personal, all rather vague. In our mind we all make our own stories.
The feeling of 'home' is not universal. We all have our own lives and personal expectations. Home is a feeling, that lives in our mind, not in an image or a building. Dreams and memories make no pictures. Trying to communicate a feeling means walking in circles.