Russia July Cherepovets

The Muse arrives at a special time. The new situation due to COVID-19 makes it even more difficult to find a livable life. For 6 years I have been living in Russia and married a Russian woman. We live in a very strong polluted industrial city in old Soviet flat barracks. After long talks, we decided that I will go back to the Netherlands (Lara to follow later). A separation between Lara and me. A time of sadness and goodbyes.

 

In the beginning, I had to get used to this drawing. Didn’t know what was top and bottom.

The drawing calls out questions. It was hanging the whole day in my workspace where I give lessons in the English language to Russians. The work is very abstract to me. As time was passing more and more life appeared in it to me. It became a real pleasure to be there every time I went into the room. It gave life to the place, especially with the knowledge that the project is growing and developing and the fact it will be traveling on. The work adds positivity like dreams can do. It is not static: it prickles the senses. When life is monotone and scarce, you need something to dream of. Russians are dreamers. Dreams can keep you going, it works like a survival system.

I realized by having the drawing on the wall how much art can give and it would be good to have more of it around.

 

From the start of entering the project, we wanted to share the work with others. Therefore, it stands in my workroom. The students are curious and search in the drawing especially to what they can recognize. In Russia, people are culturally educated but all are directed to their own land. What plays outside Russia is not very well-known. The Muse makes it clear again to me: they are shy and don’t easily show their vulnerable side. Students are looking a lot at the drawing but it is difficult to tell what they feel or think. Most of them see a landscape with the sun in it.

Because of the poverty life situation, Lara prefers not to show pictures of our interior.

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USA July Pinckney MI

Whilst I was on holiday in the Netherlands I got acquainted with the Silent muse project.

I was asked if I wanted to join in. Normally art is something you look at and decide if you are interested, this was the other way round. I immediatly liked the idea of the project and  decided it to be interesting enough without knowing about the art itself.

I was fortunate to take the package back with me to the USA. At home, in my work, I have a lot to do with fabrics and other materials, so unwrapping the package (carefully) was a great start of the experience for me. It brought a tangible element to the artwork. The tactileness of the materials added to the senses in contrast with the not touching but looking at the drawing. 

 

The drawing immediatly felt part of the house. It fitted beautifully and seemed to naturally belong there.  However, its purpose wasn’t to just blend in but to be noticed and so 

I deliberatly placed it so it would interupt my daily routine and trigger me. The choice was deliberate and it worked for me. 

 

I was brought up with photography, so I have tended to choose artwork that is photographic, and is therefore interpreted much more literally.  Looking at a photograph I would study the scene, the lighting, the textures, or facial expressions.  However, the Silent Muse is abstract not literal and asks the viewer to look more deeply.  It is easy to get lost in it. Every time I looked at it, it took my mind somewhere else in a wide range of directions.

 

When you know time is limited, you make the most of it. This temporariness prevents me from taking it for granted.

Over the last few years I have thought a lot about ownership and impermanence, and realized that we don’t actualy own anything in a permanent sense.  We get the opportunity to look after things as a temporary keeper. This connects to the project, like a life experience compressed into one month.   Much like the story “This Cup Is Already Broken” the impermanence of the drawing sets you free, allowing me to appreciate it now – in the moments that I have it.

 

Due to Covid I didn’t invite others to the house, but, I loved sharing this experience with my partner. 

 

The most interesting thing about participating in this project is that it is much bigger than our own personal experience. For a month it was like this. As it now unfolds, bringing new layers, I am curious about others’ comments, it draws out the experience further.

 

Now the muse has left my home, I miss it, but I am excited to hear the experience of the next Beholders.

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