LETTER TO AN ARTIST
By Andrea Pagnes
Previously published in Masters of Today, 2008, and The Fall of Faust, 2010
Revisited and edited, 2018
To mark the beginning
It looks like a sharp, thin line, rising at dusk – a stretched evanescent purple-grey cloud that darkens and then grows endlessly. While it rises, the sky with all its stars begins to blacken in my sight.
Picture it. It is as if someone – which I never knew before – has abruptly rung my bell, warning me that soon I'm going to get lost. I'm drifting away in this oppressive silence that lasts inside myself since ever – a silence always equal to itself, although capable to change the surface in various different ways, and that is ingrained into this past of mine that seems to me so strange, so vague.
Between reality and me, there is a veil that my thoughts cannot tear apart.
Will you merely think of yourself, just yourself, if only for a second?
Living together with others
Someone says that anything is transcendental and it is more or less real than what it is, just like reality - rainbows, seas, continents, mountains, as well as every single being, animal, every single object.
Although many times I feel like I am dying, I still continue to ask from Art a way to reveal my soul to me. So my mind can freeze for a moment while it understands that I, actually, I exist for real, that I am indeed made of flesh, nerves, blood, energy.
Sometimes my lips whisper a love song, or I teardrop instinctually, crying for someone I do not know yet.
Am I really able to love with that kind of love I really need and wish for myself?
Meanings and quest
I guess I would be quite happy if I could blow away every single one of my thoughts, every single motion, to let myself drown deeper in an empty life, just ordinary: prosaic work and no knowledge at all. Stupidly, if not shabbily joyful, I would drink the water of this human existence without asking where it is its source.
Sometimes, I wonder if happiness exists only for those who know that they can no longer feel it. When I come to the mystery, and I understand it, I am frightened. Are you?
No, art can’t speak about itself, at least not this particular form of art, which you feel is yours and you nourish through. Nevertheless, I ask you not to doubt it. Sometimes, in your eyes, it might seem too much, or not enough at all. I invite you at least not to question your suffering because you will suffer much more and in vain if one day you will realise that you doubt it.
I admit I do not know how to speak your language, that is, the language of your art. Nevertheless, I tell you that profoundly and still more profoundly, inside this heart of mine – I feel a sentiment. The same as it was that day when I saw an image for the very first time. Something touched my heart deeply: something happened inside me – without being aware of it _ something that changed my life. Since then I felt that something was rushing and rushing inside me, through my veins, rooted its seeds into my spine.
I love art, trying to enjoy it as love loves. I do not know any other reason to love art, rather than just love it. What can I say, more than this? You know what I mean. I just want to tell you that anytime I talk – or write – about art is… that I love it. Sometimes I suffer that someone can only reply to what I say and not to my love. Anyhow, as I told you, I do not take anything for granted— I will never ask art for more than it has decided to give me, don't you?
You can feel love for someone without being there. Without uttering a single word. During your day, you may pronounce nonsensical sentences (everybody does): in those moments you know you forget yourself and, even if you are going to talk with someone about your art, or just to yourself, you probably may also not remember how much you love it. So, if you are faithful to your statement or you have decided to break it, it's all right as well: rather then speak of anything, just tell about nothing or don't.
When you see a work of yours after years, you will not know anymore who you were and where and, it could come that you'll miss yourself too.
Are you ready to overcome the contrary stream?
I wonder what will happen if someone will see his failure again, in real life. I do not know, I am afraid, but somehow I sense that everything someone needs is there, in his or her own room. This is why I beg you to save it. It doesn’t hurt. There will always be moments in which we feel we miss the world outside – but you are like everybody has been before, as your quest is still to come to an end, also when apparently caught in a glaze of stagnating despair. I do not want to frighten anyone casually: nobody in this world has loved art as you love it. Your way is yours. Sometimes you have undoubtedly felt that your art has not been understood by those in the way you would have wished, but you have always known that this is part of the game. However, if a ray of moonlight transforms into a vision, a miracle of pure beauty, the firm waters of a lake, you have good chances.
Why are you so?
How can you love being so far and, be glad only by thinking to have arrived when someone has not arrived yet? Do you have a secret? Don't you want to share it? Be confident. You have always known everything about yourself, although you do not know anything yet. If you tell your secrets, you will understand them.
We pray, we love, we cheat, we confuse ourselves, we think, we feel, we warn, we make illusions, we dream countless times. Everything we do is to help us forget — or bless — our name, cast a spell, look for happiness. And if one day you’ll cry once more, caught by the muddy spirals of sadness, you can still decide to share your sorrows with that discipline that you see somehow magic. Be shy, but not indifferent. Shiver, tremble or scream your feelings and thoughts like a fire that shines through the night before it dies down. Meet in the chaos. Shoot a flash to enlighten your path in the most genuinely complete human way.
Be wrong, never banal.