Exhibition talk "Myth" | November 23
Once upon a time there was a beautiful garden. The garden surrounded a magnificent castle. In the castle lived the king and queen and their two children, a boy and a girl.
The children had everything they needed: loving parents, toys, pretty clothes, ... and much more. They played in the garden - the paths were lined with gemstones, a fountain splashed gently, birds chirped... But the children were sad. Their mother the Queen came out and hugged them. She asked, "Why the long faces? Why so sad, my dears?" The children replied, "We don't know Mother. But we don't know what we to play." Their mother thought, "Oh, I wish I was still a child and knew what my loved ones were missing. I wish the birds without legs still existed! They floated in the sky when I was little and their beauty fascinated me." As she thought this, just such a bird appeared in the sky, flew down to the family and sat in her lap. The children's eyes grew wide with wonder. They timidly stroked the bird, which regarded them calmly. They could see pitch-black feathers peeping out from under its splendid colourful coat. Then it blinked and flew away. At first the children were sad again, but then they discovered an egg in their mother's lap. A marvellous, golden egg. First the boy touched it, then his sister, and finally their mother put her hand on it. When all three touched the egg, it broke apart and out flew... it wasn't a bird, it wasn't an animal, it delighted the children. It played with them. Hide and seek. Sometimes it carried them off on its back to fantastic lands where dragons live. Sometimes it swam with them in the pond and they discovered wonderful underwater worlds. Because inside the egg was... imagination. And finally the children were happy and their laughter echoed through the garden. Their mother was just as happy, because now her children really did have everything they needed.
This is a fairy tale by Ludwig Bechstein, interpreted by me. I studied it for some time and also let it inspire me artistically.
Did you experience this garden? Can you believe in something that isn't, but is, for example in myths? In stories? In miracles?
We cannot explain how a piece of matter has to be made in order for a piece of self-perceiving life to develop in it, just as every human being does in their own body. That is the real secret of life. Because we want to know this, we have to go beyond the real world by being able to believe at all. In order to answer this question, we engage in metaphysics, but this is difficult because we do not know where the real world we are surrounded by ends and therefore cannot leave the real world. Why do we keep trying anyway (like Sissyphus)? This is the spiritual movement within us - we are always looking for the way back to the spirit, i.e. to the sources from which our life flows.
What are myths?
Myths are knowledge before all experience. They are archetypes that we can interpret for our lives. A knowledge that flows to man before any personal experience of the real world. This is the beginning of all science and we call this encounter of mankind with the real world "intuition".
The development of the human being out of intuition led to an imaginative and then to an inspired world view: i.e. imagination and inspiration. Please understand that I cannot go into this any further today, as it would take too long.
Psychoanalyst Rollo May, in his book "The Cry for Myth" wrote: "The person without myth is a person without a home... the loneliness of mythlessness is the deepest and least assuagable of all. Unconnected with the past, unconnected with the future, we hang as if in mid-air." (The Enchanted Life, Sharon Blackie, p. 161).
We don't even realise that we are all constantly telling each other stories. Isn't our life one single story? But we no longer only need the stories of the past, e.g. heroic tales that conquer the world, but new myths that convey enchantment, delight and wonder instead of battle and war. In my painting, "Mythmakers", you see a group of women telling stories. What are they telling us?
In times of AI and the rampant misunderstood and wrongly practised materialism, our ability to believe is under threat. But without faith, we have nothing left. We have to believe (I'm not talking about religion here) in order to remain viable. We are made of spirit and matter and have a soul - just like the world, we live in an animated world and it lives in us. If the world didn't have a soul, we wouldn't be able to relate to it, because only known things can relate.
Animals and nature only exist through human cognition. Neither can interpret itself out of itself. Without humans, the world would not be perceived and would therefore not exist. We can work on gaining wisdom about life just as we work on what makes a work of art a work of art through the philosophy of art. The power of art in mankind is the power to create forms, to want to realise something. A power of form.
Every human being has this power. She cannot do without it because it is the power to form. Through the power of art she is able to develop forms of life in the centre between the realm of the senses and the realm of reason. We can say that art is a force in mankind that is necessary for the formation of forms. This is why art lessons in schools are of the utmost importance. How else are we to learn to give our lives a form? This is exactly what is no longer taught in schools. Only knowledge is taught, without the forms that accompany it. This is why pupils forget everything because they have no image and therefore no knowledge. They are not to blame if they are always well informed but know nothing.
In Corinthians I, verse 13, Paul writes we need faith, love and hope.
We must believe there is love
We must believe there is hope
So we can say the highest form of faith is love.
These principles cannot be proven with science, but they are more central than anything else.
We must regain the ability to wonder and believe. Otherwise we will dry up. We need the NOT measurable - as I have been exploring for some time with my mentor, Martin Rabe in the essays we publish in The ART Letter. That is a feeling. It gives us a feeling for reality. We have always told stories to explain how the world is. Myths and fairy tales offer a world full of "participation mystique" (p. 50, The Enchanted Life) - a world in which people are connected to everything that is. This sense of awe, of belonging to a mysterious world with many depths and layers to explore, is missing from the lives of so many today.
Sharon Blackie, in her book "The Enchanted Life" which I highly recommend, says, "Whatever journey we imagine ourselves to be on, myth and fairy talkes can inform our sense of what is possible, and enable us not just to cope with life's challenges, but to live more intensely and more richly, in the world. Because spiritual growth also lies at the heart of every archetypal tale". (p. 136, The Enchanted Life)
The measurable brings avery big problem with it: and that is, as recently stated in the NZZ am Sonntag: the scientist and her subject significantly influence the measurements. This means that the measurable is also subjective and inaccurate. The scientist cannot separate herself from her subject. And we cannot accept the evidence that the scientist provides without our own subjective experience, our feelings.
Back to myths. Myths and stories are important to help us see other possibilities for our lives. Just like art. Martin Heidegger said, "Great art gives us eyes for something we could not see before. Small art only changes the form of what already exists." Just like stories and myths can open our minds to our lives. Like Sharon Blackie does in England. Or Carl Gustav Jung taught. We all have a path to walk, but on this path there are wonders to be discovered, the numinous to be found. The first sight of a newborn. The happy reception of a dog. The robin that keeps returing to sing to you while you paint (it happened to me). And this marvellous moment of wonder lifts us out of our everyday lives and shows us that there is much more to the world. More depth, more inexplicable, more metaphysics, more stories than we experience in our everyday lives.
That's why I invite you to rekindle your faith in miracles, your belief in goodness, beauty and love. I wish you an inspiring afternoon with my artwork - all of which are looking for a new home where they can continue to be seen. Because art that is not experienced does not exist. Just like a world that is not recognised does not exist. We have been given everything, but without imagination, without the power of art, we are as unhappy as the children in the story.
A handmade object is an investment - and a commitment to longevity in a world where much has become disposable and easy to replace. Enchanted homes are places where the artisanal, the handmade, is valued more than the mass-produced, places where each object is carefully selected, loved and treasured.
The British designer William Morris said,
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
I would say it like this:
"Have nothing in your houses that is not useful AND beautiful!"
With this in mind, I wish you an enchanting afternoon with lots of great stories...
© Sibylle Laubscher
Thoughts on time
Gedanken zur Zeit
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