Thesis

Portrait of a place : No Man's Land

A feeling of "other worldliness'' reflects an important facet of this work. It is never solely the artist's conscious effort that determines the nature of the piece. It is continually one's pursuit to follow the dictates of the work, as they are perceived. Oftentimes indications of a particular direction are deliberate and confrontational. One would be a fool not to take the hint and thus miss the opportunity. Kandinsky surely was aware of these dictates for he claimed, "In the course of the work, one sometimes gets an 'order' which one then has to obey slavishly" (Kandinsky, 1982, p. 739). For art, it is a matter of staying in a frame of mind that anticipates these commanding occurrences. Or else, it doesn't matter. The assurance is a comfort to the anxieties of scrutiny. "No Man's Land" is an installation centered around a personal view of the Berlin Wall: its atmosphere; its historical, political, and human implications. A dark, dank, smoke-filled room with thunderous noises synchronized to erratically flashing lights creates a close, tense atmosphere. Ensuing internalized fears warn the viewer of their own continued complicity in the cold war. Interaction heralds a call to action that will countermand divisionist attitudes. An artist is inspired by experience. The moments that fill our lives are the bank from which we draw incentive. Special encounters which make deep impressions are something turned into creative and expressive energy. While in Europe, I was saddened by the apparent devastation of war. Equally impressive is the ominous silent war that still weighs heavily on the Berliners' shoulders, living on either side of the wall. "No Man's Land" represents my own confrontation with these situations. It is meant as a humble plea to suppress all inequalities and violent activities against freedom and the will of the people. The spirit of the times and current world views reiterate the theme that fears must be diffused to avoid confrontation and annihilation. The effort to ease East- West tensions is currently an issue being discussed by our elected government officials. Cooperation in working for peace on earth seems to be taking a different tone and has recently made some progress. These concerns are also an inspiration to work on this installation. The work confronts viewers and urges them to ignore fatalistic conclusions or helplessness. Instead, it encourages them to act positively. The wall in cross section is reduced to an open condition. Its "wall-like" attributes are stripped away, representing the dream that the Berlin Wall might also be laid to waste. As a broken segment it conjures up a prayer for human redemption and stands as a reminder for peace. No Man's Land has, sadly, been turned into a monument. This "Portrait of a Place" aspires to arouse mankind to transcend the bigoted pitfalls of the past. Expressed is the hope that authorities which support the continuation of the wall will work to dismantle it and diffuse the fragmentation it represents. If people fail, nature will bury it, as it did the trenches of the world wars where millions died. (See more in text)

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