My yellow notebook #8 – AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND ENVIRONMENT

On the relationship between “autobiography” and the “environment” in art.

 

Generally, each work of art arises from the tension between an individual and their environment or social circumstances. It is a fact that nobody will ever be able to claim to have generated something “from his own resources alone”. On the one hand, we are locked in our creative process and, on the other, we are always influenced – consciously or subconsciously – particularly by what has “got under our skin” over the course of our life. We always fall back on a growing pool of experiences, realizations and inspiration which act upon us from outside. The bigger this internalized pool and the more complex the network between the pieces of information stored away, the greater the array of expression available to the individual. A kind of spiritual DNA is created, a historical pool and, at the same time, the individual’s own IDENTITY from which the artist draws his ich and with which the artist’s ich resonates and is therefore able to constantly update itself and permanently redefine and develop the status quo.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: When I sit at my grand piano, then Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Debussy, Satie, Cage, Ligeti, Reich, Glass, Pärt, Winston, Mertens, Sakamoto, Max Richter and, and, and.. are always playing with me…  yet something always comes out that is without doubt, Harald Blüchel, who possibly also then plays along in the ears of many others.

Let’s move on from artistic style to artistic motivation. The basic principle here is, “due to an experience X or a situation Y, I have a need to translate the resulting thoughts and emotions into a form that I can describe. I pursue reflection in transformation and want to communicate the result.”

Can autobiographical works make sense for the listener? Buzzwords on this topic could be: “identification”, “confrontation”, “listen up” and “relevance”. Skilled retouching or simply sexing up the familiar or the popular – using new technology is the easiest way to repackage things (“facelifting”) – is a readily accepted practice but it doesn’t meet the quality standards I have set myself for composition, regardless of the market laws, market opportunities, trends and (assumed) audience expectations.  By contrast, it makes sense to start from one’s own sensibility, one’s own position, to arrive at a new statement during the artistic process that should be as condensed as possible. In my view, this is the strongest, most direct creative approach available to me. The challenge and the incentive lies in assuming another role, fathoming out different viewpoints, learning something, turning things around and seeing them anew, so as – in the course of the work – to discover NEW aspects that only become apparent in the course of the process. As a performing artist I want to present a complex (micro-) world.

When I am myself in the audience, I want an artist’s work to be a TRIGGER: it should affect me, like striking a note on one of my heartstrings. Inspiration: at best, this enriches my perception of the world. But it could also be confusing or disturbing;  be it because entirely new perspectives open up for me, that I want to explore (creative discourse) or that associated and familiar feelings, perceptions or a shared aesthetic confirm me in my own being in a way that has not yet been expressed and reinforce my conviction to continue along the path (creative consensus).

When a work of art does something to me, a feedback loop is created. It puts me into a mood I find hard to describe, offers me new ways to perceive the world and alters my attitude to it. The autobiographical background, knowing the motivations of the artist, can reinforce my own ideas, but not necessarily. Art that IMPRESSES me does not impose any borders on the imagination. It puts things in motion, because it is subjective, unequivocal and yet open enough to leave an unforgettable impression in the ideal case.