#3 Virtual Worlds
Virtual Worlds, a diary
Back in the old days painters told there stories through icons and symbols. In the nineties Gabriëlla decided to use the efficient visual language of computers. She tries to fit her feelings and observations in pictograms, creating her own ‘Windows’. And there’s another virtual touch to it: she paints with pixels, emotional ones, spontaneous dots.
Gabriëlla: “In my series Brave New Old Worlds the pixels look almost crumbled, very rough, referring to the crumbling of the time, evolving in a good or bad way.”
To show us that her Virtual Worlds are timeless, she brings us to the Maria Magdalena church, close to the central station in Brussels. “I’m not really a religious person, but the way the light is filtered through the glass windows, almost makes me cry. It’s so beautiful, peaceful. A glass window is divided into different pieces, i feel connected to that method, it’s how i divide a painting into pictograms.”
Another similarity between the glass windows and Gabriëlla’s paintings is the use of a central figure, surrounded with an ‘entourage’. Gabriëlla: “It’s very touching, because it goes back to the essence of mankind. I always use a central subject that i wreathe with what happens around me, what i feel, what i think… And i repeat those things, just like those figures in the glass windows return.”
The subject of this painting in the Virtual World series is very recognizable for a lot of people.
Gabriëlla: “Wil is my husband. He’s struggling with his health. He is surrounded, supported, connected. Of course you can never be 100% sure everything is going to be alright. That’s why the circle is half open, and dark, because there’s also a thread. It’s an unstable situation, like a heart sinking in water, deeper and deeper. The figure in the middle looks firm, he’s holding himself but his body is floating. The contours of his head are reduced to its most elementary form, a pictogram.”
Lincoln in the Bardo : a comforting book
Gabriëlla: “It’s based on a book, Lincoln in the Bardo. The reading happened at night, between the shadow of a tree and a Christ figure. No form, but an ethos. It’s about the deceased that are waiting in the family vault because their family is coming back to try to get in contact. They see the sadness of their family and because of that they are unable to disappear, so they wait.”
Gabriëlla emphasizes that it’s fiction, but: “I find it intriguing to play with the question ‘is it possible to get in contact with somebody you lost?’. There’s a certain comfort in that thought, there’s light shining through. It must be a blessing if you believe in this.”
The book tells the story of Lincoln that lost his son and has a hard time to cope with his grieve. Over and over again he went back to the graveyard. The boy saw the sadnes of his father and couldn’t go, he had to wait in the purgatory. Finally when Lincoln believes that he can’t do anything anymore for his kid, the boy goes to another dimension.”
Gabriëlla: “It’s a strange, comforting book. I’m not that religious, but after reading this book i asked myself questions. That’s what this painting is all about.”
Gabriëlla: “The half circle points out raindrops. It’s not a solid state, but something that continuously presses, like raindrops. The central figure is very calm, she accepts the situation, there’s little she can do, she can only undergo. It’s about having a bad relation with somebody who brings a lot of suffering, but you are defenseless.”
There’s a bit of hope in the painting too: a bird and a cat, nature, ... Gabriëlla puts it this way: “Animals shape a certain reality. I believe in the comfort of nature, she is always there.”
This painting is more a pain thing. Agression creeps in.
Gabriëlla: “Somebody talks to you and takes your breath away, in a negative way. The half circle over the head is very agressive: in black and yellow, like a burning thing. The heart is black. It’s about very negative facts. There’s nothing peaceful about it, the pictograms are thraitening: scissors that stab etc. At the top you see a smartphone, because the conversation happened that way. Look at the strikethrough: it means there’s no way out, you can’t react, it’s like this, there’s nothing to do about it. The central figure is a skeleton: look how miserable humans can be.”
Next episode coming soon
In the next Denkaufgabe Gabriëlla will talk about her Health series. If you don’t want to miss that, and much more, please leave your e-mail.
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