Time is Personal, 2021-2024
The “Time is Personal” series reflects individual vulnerabilities of people in my immediate surroundings. By recreating photos (most taken by me) with pencils on paper (and later oil on canvas) , I let a reality come to life that is forever gone – and let myself feel time beyond time.
"The Present Moment", Daniel N. Stern
My third batch of psychotherapy sessions lasted from 2021-2023, and finally made me understand the unusual relationship I’ve always had with time. Having been ░░░░░░ ░░░░ ░░ ░ ░░░, I could finally give it a name: for me, time didn’t yet begin. Being pre-time meant that life itself hadn’t yet started. I was still in ░░░░ ░░░░ ░░░░░ ░░░ ░░░░, not just ░░░░░░ away from that ░░░░, but from life – and time – itself. And while I was pre-time, I experienced life to already be over.
This finally explained my sense of urgency, of loss, of life-within-no-life. The feeling that my existence, even though lived so fully, nevertheless didn’t feel worthwhile – because it didn’t feel to actually happen, to actually be.
It didn’t feel.
pre-born and post-deceased.
A lot of my trauma work went into understanding anxiety, anger, grief and sadness. What does transgenerational trauma mean – where does it begin, and how to make it stop? When does one’s life begin, when seen as part of a transgenerational sequence? As Sebern Fisher discusses in “Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma“, there’s a lot that can happen to you before you’re born, in the time when your amygdala is formed, but your birth hasn’t yet happened.
Whatever happens to you, never exists in a vacuum. You are part of a sequence, a continuum – that sometimes needs to be broken.
"Creating Love", John Bradshaw
"Healing Your Aloneness", Erika J. Chopich & Margaret Paul
Recreating Time: About this work series
Paintings and drawings offer a space beyond time. They exist before your birth, and after your death. They too are part of a sequence, but it’s an object-based reality; we attach meaning to them, yet they themselves just are, if that could ever be true.
Paintings and drawings take up space, but have a different relationship to time than e.g. film or music. You can experience a drawing in its potential entirety, purely focusing on your experience of it. Time passes as a result of your focus, not of the medium changing.
Paintings and drawings, at least in the traditional sense, exist visually and haptically, but not auditively. There is a unique, minimalist focus on the visual that can be experienced as meditative. Figuration per se might break this minimalism for some – but that’s not my point.
Unlike photography, paintings and drawings reference the internal first – everything that happens on the medium (paper, canvas, etc.) was synthesized by someone; every stroke, surface, likeness. Where photography by necessity references the external (the world), this offers a choice to those working beyond photography, beyond the preexisting external.
It’s a weird, maybe anachronistic situation then, to paint or draw in a world that has photographic, and even AI technology. When painting used to originally be a medium of external reference (to depict a world that didn’t yet invent photography), this task is no longer required of it. Why then reflect this way on a world, that can so easily be captured by other means? Why draw the world, when drawing would enable you to synthesize any other world? Why draw what happened, when you could envision a future?
As usual, there are many answers – in the context of these works, I have to admit that I didn’t feel like creating a future, but rather to capture a specific past. Time is personal, and the act of drawing lets me capture that. I’m working through things past; drawing photos, referencing an externality that is gone – to recreate time. For myself.