‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance’ Aristotle
Couple of months ago I spoke to a young man called David, that I was going to recruit for one of my upcoming projects. There wouldn’t be anything exceptional about our conversation, if it wasn’t for a few, unexpected details from David’s life that I got to hear: ‘Anna, 2 years ago I’ve been in a very dark place. My girlfriend was depressed, she wanted to kill herself and I was trying to help her in any way I could. But then, with the time passing by, I got depressed myself and I had to start to use ‘heavy stuff’. (which to me was equal to taking drugs such as Prozac or Xanax)
Poor man, I thought back then to myself. He must have been so consumed and infatuated with the destructive feeling, that he lost the touch with the life and light around him. His own problems started to outshadow hers, and he slowly became the darkness he was living in with his girlfriend.
‘A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it’s left me blind
The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart’
Even though it’s been months since I spoke to David, this conversation still echoes in my head as it touched something universal about human nature. Namely, there are people in your life that appear with the cadence of a hawk trapped inside the cage build for a canary. They bring intense emotions but also madness, grief and they often become the devastating force, the hurricane that turns your entire world upside down.
If that happens to you, initially you are feeling intoxicated, charmed as if in a dream that is so magnetic that you never want to wake up from it. Suddenly this feeling makes you feel like you have no more air left to breathe. The emotion makes you walk into darkness.
‘And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
I tried to find the sound
But then it stopped, and I was in the darkness,
So darkness I became’
(c) ‘Cosmic Love’ (2009), Florence And The Machine, Picture from the Official Video
(c) Danielle Luinge, Vanity 2
Contemplating on this quite overwhelming and engaging topic I thought of Frida Kahlo and her, at times, horrendous and violent relationship with Diego Rivera. They are, of course only one of so many other ‘damned lovers’ that I know either personally or from the books or stories I’ve heard. I knew that all that David was trying to tell me, the essence of it, could be found in the one of my most favorite songs ‘Cosmic Love’ by Florence And The Machine. This song is painfully pretty, it brings tears to your eyes, just like staring into the sun.
(c) Florence And The Machine, ‘Cosmic Love’ (2009), Official Video
(c) Danielle Luinge, ‘Emily Lost In The Garden For 6 Days’, 2016
Darkness and ‘Magic Realism’ that I found in the song ‘Cosmic Love’ is the same kind of ‘darkness’ that I found in the intriguing paintings and 3D sculptures by the Dutch artist Danielle Luinge. I’ve been introduced to her Art by her Partner and Love Giovanni Winne that I dedicated one of my last post to.
(c) Danielle Luinge, ‘Inner Mind’, 2016
To me, the mysterious and big-eyed women from Danielle’s artworks symbolize loss, sadness, confusion, being haunted by the past and loneliness. They seem to ‘speak out loud’ of something that all of us had to or will have to deal with at some point of our lives.
(c) Danielle Luinge, ‘Le Jardin Des Voyeurs’, 2016, Private Collection
If I was to describe Danielle Luigi’s work using just one word I would go for ‘longing’. For me ‘the thousand grieving faces’ so characteristic for the art by this Dutch artist are there to convey humanity’s place in the universe. We are sharing the same world with so many other beings and it’s impossible to close your eyes for the broken hearts, pain and poverty. There are wars and there is suffering – but there are also hundreds and thousands of caring eyes looking into our direction. There are people who know us, care about us and are truly connected to us. So there is and will always be both darkness and light.
(c) Danielle Luinge, ‘Mothers Are Lovers’, 2016
When I was busy with my research for this post I came across a website of another artist who is originally from Mexico but currently works and lives in the US. His name is Armando Adrian-Lopez. Armando’s work is work is in the collections of The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach, California, The National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in many private collections worldwide.
When Armando was a child, his mother told him the story of a doll made by her father when she was a girl. She said the doll was so infused with a magical human likeness that the eyes (made from marbles) seemed to follow all that went on around it. The story became etched in Armando’s young mind, and at age four he began making dolls with the notion of instilling in them the same magical qualities as the doll in the story.
Armando Adrian-Lopez, ‘Somios Novios’
I was thrilled to discover that Danielle and Armando’s work have so much in common, as if the paintings or 3D sculptures shared one and the same admiration for the higher form of love, a ‘cosmic love’ that is love for Art.
(c) Armando Adrian-Lopez, ‘Enamorada’
When in the song I mentioned previously Florence Welsh speaks of “taking the stars and making a map”, she explains how she is trying to get back to her old self. She wants to be a whole again.
‘I took the stars from our eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you’
There are ‘Eyes That Follow It All and See It All’ from the artworks by visionary and highly sensitive artist such Luinge or Lopez. There are songs that if you listen to them carefully, will tell you more than many thick books of psychoanalysis.
(c) Armando Adrian-Lopez, Maria de las Golondrinas
(c) Armando Adrian-Lopez, ‘Amor Vardaro’
The time has come to ask the final question.
What if ‘Cosmic Love’ that takes you away from the darkness and brings the light that so many people are searching for everywhere, has been under your nose the entire time?