this single piece


It seems like I’m slowly developing a thing for art. I was at a local art museum today, where they featured a rather small exhibition on contemporary art and there was one piece that really caught me:

Sleep 9 by Gottfried Helnwein

Sleep 9 by Gottfried Helnwein

its title is “Sleep 9” and it is a painting of a photograph both by Gottfried Helnwein, an Austrian artist. Of all the pieces in the gallery she wouldn’t let go of me quite so easily. Not only that she seemed to look directly at me with those weird eyes, no matter from where I tried to take a look on her. Not only that she doesn’t seem to be fully human, somehow, but something else, something more disturbing. Or is it only me?

Perhaps, after all this is the fascination of art: The way it reflects less the artist’s intention, but your own mind. I wonder if somebody else looking at the same portrait of a child would see the same emotions in her eyes. I wonder if that person would feel as disturbed as I do trying to take on her look. Everybody has to carry a shadow of his own, after all …
When I was a child my dad would take me to a lot of exhibitions. Sometimes I found them nothing but boring, but my dad would always know the story that goes with the picture, or at least he would know where to point my eyes at and make every painting a small wonderland to explore. I would never develop a true interest into art back then, but he did shape my eyes, he did teach me to look behind the obvious and don’t believe a title or description, but look for myself. It’s funny how after all these years I can still hear him talk to me when I look at an interesting piece; how he explains things to me. But still it was nothing but a picture, a strange adult-thing, to me back then.

Today, sometimes, the canvas and the colors are more. They open doors to magic realms of myself or the world. Perhaps art is a kind of magic, after all, a tool that teaches you about your self and your own perception. And just like magic you need to be ready for it. Not for art in general, probably, but for this single picture, this single piece of magic.

philosophically yours,



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