• The Painted House | Welcome Speech

The Painted House | Welcome Speech

Dear friends interested in art

It gives me great pleasure to show you my house interiors and perhaps inspire you through them.

With a little imagination and artistic craftsmanship I have designed our home - and it is far from finished! I can paint a mermaid or a flower garden on your wall. I even decorated a house wall in Wetzikon with a mountain biker, painted a wall in a restaurant in Germany and, when I was 16, painted a disco in Kenya with palm trees.

When we were locked up indoors due to Corona, I started painting pictures of our rooms. I was the first person I knew who had Corona. Locked in my bedroom, my husband brought me food on a tray, wearing disposable gloves of course. I can hardly imagine it now! I was provided with computer, Netflix, my easel and paints. Thus equipped, I painted our bedroom from every angle. An example of how the sources of art flow from true living conditions.

This is how I see my role as an artist: to show you the world we live in. I highlight aspects of this world to give new insights into how we live and enable us to feel the common, the unifying.

I firmly believe that art is made by people for people and as such gives space to our human nature and our longing for beauty and community. I know that we need art. Art is a vital form of human expression, just like our language. Both are life-sustaining forces.

In times when AI is becoming more and more present, when we write texts without human hands, when we paint pictures without brushes, I think it is of utmost importance to remember our identity again.

What makes us human?

Do we still have an image of human beings?

We have a morality - also an aesthetic morality, and that is when ethics, according to its principle, links the realisation of the good to the creation of the attractive form - that is a form that gives us courage.

We live in a soulful world because we feel soul in us. A machine does not have that. A computer is a calculator that evaluates a set of units, but without feelings. It has no morality and no aesthetic feeling. It has nothing of its own and only works with what we provide it with beforehand.

What does this tell us?

The most important thing that distinguishes us from the machine is to capture our humanity through art.

When I paint a picture, the work is "ensouled" by me, in that when I paint representationally, I look at the object, internalise it, and then translate it into the 2-dimensional on a surface. This is the most important step. And not, like a photograph, in which case I would only be recreating something that already exists. But I want to be a self-creating new creator!

Art is never dedicated to the factual, but to the possible. That is more than the factual. If it only took the factual, it would only be a re-creating force. I don't want to simply copy, but to show the "more" that points beyond everything! The perfect is inanimate, as Goethe already emphasised - the beautiful is in the moving, the living, the imperfect - as we are.

The beautiful cannot reveal itself on its own. It needs the experiencing human being. This also applies to the ugly, which is also shaped in art. Evil alone comes forth on its own and afflicts us.

When I go to an exhibition, I can say to the 90% which works had a photographic reason. They don't seem "animated" like something that was made by a human being as a whole. Because when something is made by a human being, and because I am also a human being, something gets covered: I recognise something of myself in the picture - because only what is known can relate.

In other words, the human dwells in man-made art.

Looking at pictures gives us a feeling of community, of togetherness. It also shows us that there is something other than the everyday and broadens our horizons. We need something that takes us beyond the mundane and sets us free again and again. For this we have art, so that we can bear the everyday (Nietzsche). We are aware of this far too little because it seems to happen automatically. But that is a dangerous mistake.

We seek freedom and infinity because both are the idea in mankind.

For example: almost all of you find a sunset beautiful, don't you?

And that's because in the sunset the infinitely beautiful in nature is reflected and we thereby remind ourselves of our own spiritual infinity. Colour is the spiritual garment of nature, and we partake of it. Imagine a world without colour? We would become mentally ill.

We live in a ensouled world and it lives in us.

We need to be able to immerse ourselves in the beautiful, to enjoy a journey into our imagination, to celebrate the amazing things we are capable of and the incredible planet we have been placed on. And we need to be interested in the questions that don't have answers. That is human.

So the only way to fight AI is to stand out from it, to stand against it with the most human expression we have - the self-creative power of art that lives in every human being as an art force. The machine does not have anything like that.

For this, you as a viewer must also bring something with you, know something - in order to be able to look artistically! You must be able to respond to colour, form and movement - the essential components of a work of art.

Research has been going on for many years, by various neuroscientists all over the world, on how art affects us. And it has now been proven that art of all kinds affects our brains in multiple, dynamic ways, and that neural networks are formed that exhibit increased, complex connectivity. In other words, art can "shape" and even "caress" our brains. So when we say that a work of art moves us, that is indeed the case.

The list of areas that can be improved or alleviated by experiencing art is staggering, including life satisfaction, meaning in life, well-being, loneliness, social support, self-esteem, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, emotion regulation, chronic pain, frailty and premature mortality.

The famous neurobiologist Semir Zeki says: "(Humans) can only form a concept of beauty if they are seriously engaged in art".
He found that beauty is associated with activity of a very specific part of the brain and always triggers the same arousal - this makes it measurable. "Whenever you feel beauty, that experience affects a large part of the emotional brain.... In ugly spaces, people tend to behave antisocially. The importance of beauty has long been overlooked by architects designing social housing."

There was even a piece in National Geographic recently about the importance of art for people.

Colour boosts energy and mood. A colourful environment can help you make fewer mistakes. Colour increases confidence in others. Therefore, when you have had your fill, perhaps enjoyed a piece of cake in the garden, I encourage you to either enhance your living space with a painting or joyfully renew rooms with colour. I am happy to offer advice on this.

For those who want to pick up a paintbrush themselves - I have my art painting class for you in July!

Thank you very much for listening!

© Sibylle Laubscher