The modern abstract painting started with Cézanne. Cézanne wanted to let the painting seal the existing. Hereby Cézanne’s paintings became nature1
and object. Zonation is a proposal for an object-oriented post-Cézanneian painting process, spontaneous and contained at the same time.
By Hans Jørgen Henriksen
Art is an continous process of reconciling multiplicity by overall unity
Zonation painting is lines, tones and colours but more than that. It is also depth and beauty. In the zonation painting I search for the beaty, the aesthetics, a higher form of integration of lines, tones and colours, for which there are rules, but not any single set of rules. In my zonation painting, I do not make any distinction between the abstract and the figurative art, they are both interacting in the same artwork.
Nor do I dinstinct between the pictoral object and the percieving subject, they are both interacting in the process when the picture take on form and become motif. What counts in zonation painting is the pictorial organization by virtue of neo-cubistic shapes, chromatic modulations and variations in brush strokes which unify the entire composition, in a continous process of reconciling multiplicity by overall unity.
My first oil painting
One of the first oil paintings I made in 1982 was an immitation of one of the french painter Cézanne's paintings "Château de Médan" from around 1880. I was inspired by Herbert Read's: ”A concise history of modern painting” (1974), who described how the late Cézanne became a doubter and began to isolate himself from the neoimpressionists, which he was part of. Cézanne wanted to see the world: ”without any intervention either of the mind or the untidy emotions”. The impressionists wanted to see the "light”.
But Cezanne did see something more. He seeked to allow space to the subjective intentional - the spontaneous expression - and at the same time he defended the idea that the painting should seal the non intentional ”nature”. Herbert Read explains convincingly how Cézanne developed his focus on realisation and modulation. First Cézanne selected a motive, it could be a landscape, bathers or a portrait. Next, according to Cézanne, it is the artists challenge: ”to bring into being his visual apprehension of his motif; and in this process to lose nothing of the vital intensity that the motif possessed in its actual existence” (Read, 1974 p16).
Cezanne had the understanding, that the task of the artist was, to bring order in the human perception’s chaos. A mutual balancing of the color zones of the picture. The depth and the surface of the motive should become visible with clarity. Hereby the painting process with Cézanne became a construction ”after the nature”, a realisation of the motive. Cézanne’s doubt should later turn out to become the break through of the modern painting. Cézanne chose to blow artistic fanfare for modulation. Cézanne defined modulation as: ”Modulation means rather the adjustment of one area of colour to its neighbouring areas of colour, a continuous process of reconciling multiplicity with an overall unity”.
I grew up near a river
I am not a town person in the nature, rather I am a human grown up in the country. Next I moved to the big town. Not a big town bedouine2,
born in this "desert" as the Danish singer C.V. Jørgensen expresses it.
I grew up in Western Jutland, near a river, with its water flow and transport, running down the year round. This early ”being” closely linked to the water cycle, I guess, influenced my painting. Gave it its own dynamics and naivety. At the same time the rythm of the flowing water and the mystique of understanding the rivervalley and the flow also influenced the educational direction I chose. First as a civilengineer (specialized in hydrology and hydraulics). Later in my practice as a working hydrologist (now with 25 years of experience within the field of hydrology and modelling).
My own practical experience started with hydrometry and methods for measurement of flow in rivers. Later I began to explore groundwater modelling, and subsequently, I focused on modelling of the interactionen between groundwater and surface water exchange on a catchment scale. Recently, the challenge of integrating knowledge from modelling and monitoring became a new research fields, and how to best involve stakeholders in the decision making process and adaptive water management.
This moves me toward a growing interest for better understanding the human factor as part of management of natural resources. Eight years ago, I finalised a master degree in Psychology of Organisation (MPO) at RUC which again provided new inspiration for me, now coming in from social sciences.
All the way there was a dialectic interaction between drawing and painting on the one side, and practising hydrology on the other.
H.J. Henriksen: Populated equation 2001
Allow landscape to take on form
In order to illustrate what this means for my paintings, I have decided to propose a novel concept: "ZONATION" for characterizing my approach in painting. Zonation means ”a subdivision in geographical zones or habitats following some pregiven principles”, for instance based on differences in temperature, precipitation, salinity or radiation. In this, the essential for me is the object, as it is formed by the painter and the viewing subject, when becoming a real exhibited object. But at the same time, it is influenced by the inner psychological representation, standing in a continous interaction with the environment.
This means that ”Zonation” as a painting process is about allowing the urban landscapes to take on form, subjectively edited by the artist in coal, acrylics or oil on canvas, a form which can give room for fantasy, and activate the artists and the viewers diverse perceptions. Cézanne was my first inspiration, later cubism and abstract realism, became new centres of motivation for me. But art is reaction and deconstruction, more than it is evolution. As Herbert Read phrases it: "In art, a school once established normally deteriorates as it goes on". And art is more than just lines, colours and tones, more than 2-D, art transmit emotions and evoke feelings, and moves the intellect.
Ecozones in the mind
In my recent exhibtion I have used the term 'ecozones-in-the-mind' when I talk about zonation paintings. One of the characteristics of this beginning of the new millenium is thanks to social networks, new media and information technology, people are increasingly connected to each other everywhere and everytime. Not as before in interpersonal relationships, but rather as relatedness in the global network society. Organisations has become "bricks without mortar" (James Krantz). James Krantz use the term 'domain-in-the-mind' to describe this new turn.
With the term 'ecozones-in-the-mind' I attempt to coin a new term which build on Krantz's 'domain-in-the-mind' and Gregory Batesons ideas from the early seventies about the 'ecology of mental systems'. According to Bateson human beings live 'in another world' than the mountain lyon. The mountain lyon is neither loaded with or blessed by ideas about ecology. But as human beings with mental models in the mind, we are! Ecozones-in-the-mind are according to the philosophy of Gregory Bateson, much more important than the plans (because if you change peoples mental model, you can change everything).
Mental models are the back bone of all planning, and more important than the plans. With eco-zones-in-the-mind I want to signal such a radikal interpretation of a more global awarenes, where citizens everywhere and everytime, voice and express their ecozones-in-the-mind and awareness about the current and future state of the local and the global environment in a more sustainable direction.
An example from hydrology: zonation as a metafor for groundwater protection
Let me illustrate the above suggestions with an example. I use zonation as a term picked up from other areas, from contemporary groundwater protection activities in Denmark, where authorities and waterworks in these years are mapping the vulnerable areas, which need additional groundwater protection, in order to be able assure future clean driking water resources abstracted from the groundwater system (Cézannes motif).
This work was initiated around the year 2000 in order to identify the most vulnerable areas exposed to nitrate and pesticide leaching, threatening the future drinking water quality (a modulation). This task was not simply a modelling task based on existing data, the task definately also included collection of comprehensive data sets, mapping by use of geophysical methods and assessments based on validated models and data financed by a fee put on the per cubic meter consumed drinking water in the household.
The purpose was to establish vulnerable zones delineated based on this set of objective criteria. The focus point in the zonation of groundwater was the important wellfields and upstream capture zones within the catchment area, where the renewable groundwater are recharged and formed. The need for this integrated picture of the recharge capture areas can be understood, by imagening that the quality of the future raw groundwater abstracted at the wellfield depend of the partial contributions from different subareas (equaling integration of motif, modulation and focus point).
It is not my agenda here to questionise this grand national groundwater zonation project. The intention behind the nationwide and heroic zonation project, is to create an order in the messi and complex nature, a basic fundament for sound groundwater protection, which is as efficient as possible. An important piece of work, an attempt to "enlighten" the subsurface in order to understand and illustrate the water cycle (below the surface) as an integral part - in exchange and interaction with surface water. Protecting and documentating the sustainable exploitation of the valuable resource for future generations, thus became the crystalized goal of this nationwide collaborative action.
H.J. Henriksen: Human relations 2001
Brushes of the wide nature
Motif, modulation, focus point and integration are not at steady state features when climate change influence the water cycle and the geographical location of these vital vulnerable zones vital to protect. This implies, that the zones defined by the "brushes of the wide nature" depends on how climate, temperature, precipitation etc. develops in near future times and spaces. As Popper expresses it - we must do it as well as we can, and at the same time attempt to learn from our failures, but how to do this in front of the blank canvas?.
We should here recall Cézannes way of thinking urging painters to try to integrate the object and to keep a focus on the field (the ontology). Here Cézannes doubt become interesting. Cézanne not only changed painting but he also created new ideas, which here more than 100 years later seems quite appealing and help us to begin to understand the full implications if Cezánnes work for painting, namely the need for handling uncertainty and ambiguity in the late modern in the painting process as well as in management of natural resource. Interesting here is Cézannes distinction between spontaneous organisation and scientific knowledge production.
The meaning of perceptual traces and projective rooms (which are part of and the source of projective identification processes) are key elements in the psychical representation of nature and environment.
The importance of perceptual traces and projective rooms
”The french philosopher Gaston Bachelard has said: A complete cast solid picture paralyse the fantasy… A picture, giving a hint of and including non told elements in its storey, bring the viewer in a condition of tension, which convey the fantasy… This counts not only in pictural art. It counts in general and especially in the modern world, that our perceptions is build on real elements, which are integrated to a whole by our experience and fantasy…
As the Danish psychologist Steen Visholm3
explains it, it is possible to summarize this with the concepts of perceptual traces and projective rooms. Maurice Merleau-Ponty here saw an important purpose with psychoanalysis, which on an intuitive basis, attempted to describe the exchange between the future and the past. By looking at the past, it became easier to understand the meaning of the future (a gigantic projective room), and by looking at the future it also became easier to understand the meaning of the past.
The psychodynamic system theory4
used the term ”here and now” for this, corresponding to the fact, that face to face meetings in the present moment are vital for human collaboration, situations where the past, the future and the now moment can become linked and can generate our new perceptions, languages, meanings, beliefs and emotions.
According to Merleau-Ponty, it was Cezannes intention, that he: ”wanted to depitch matter as it takes on form…Cézanne did not think he had to choose between feeling and thought, between order and chaos. He did not want to separate the stable things which we see and the shifting way in which they appear; he wanted to depict matter as it takes on form, the birth of order through spontaneous organization... He makes a basic distinction between the spontaneous organization of the things we perceive and the human organization of ideas and sciences. We see things; we agree about them; we are anchored in them; and it is with ‘nature’ as our base that we construct our sciences. Cézanne wanted to paint this primordial world” (Merleau-Ponty, 1964).
H.J. Henriksen: Psychodynamic spring and Indirect from my hearth 2007
I am its consciousness
Cézanne imagined a new form which was phenomenological: ”The landscape thinks itself in me…and I am its consciousness”. Cézannes wished for the picture to become nature and not simply a matter of depicted nature, and this is not only remarkable for Cézanne, it is also a key attribute for many of his followers e.g. the New York school abstract expressionists, the german abstract expressionists, and even influencing the Danish paintor: Per Kirkeby5.
The ”mountain” I directed attention to in my latest oil painting series is the Copenhagen urbane landscape, rich on perceptual traces and projective rooms. Some of my urban landscape paintings reminds people of the towns behind the Iron Curtain bask before the fall of the Berlin wall - belonging to the tabu laden cold war environments of Eastern Europe. Others have traces from country towns. The past as a projective room, and the past as perceptual traces, emotional, subjective and at the same time intellectual and abstract.
Maybe, the zonation painting really belong to "the spiritual abstract", the late modern compelling field of force, stretched between Georg Baselitz's perceptual traces reaching back to van Gogh, Munch and Nolde, and at the other side influenced by Anselm Kiefer's debt to german romantic and abstract expressionism.
Cézannes development as painter evaluated from psychodynamic developmental theory
Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence on 19 Januar 1839. He belonged to the impressionists, but broke with the group, after an exhibition in 1877. In a letter to Pissarro he apologized this break (and his doubt), by expressing that there was always too much turbulence connected with the neo-impressionist exhibition in Paris. But how can we understand Cézannes development?
I guess that we need to examine John Bowlbys by use of the attachment theory, which has its origin in biology, to understand the developmental proces of the artist Cézanne (and his followers including me). Bowlby assigned dominating importance to the individuals need for motivation as a driver for personal development. The results of early attachment through internalised work models, formed according to Bowlby the basis for many later relations people can develop and grow with. Bowlbys conceptual model so to speak turned psychoanalysis "upside down”.
Bowlby namely skipped Freuds principle of reduction of desire (or lust) as a main factor in motivation, and substituted this with the balance between stimulation and restfulness, and interaction between a search for new challenges and a search for security. Cézannes development as a mature painter, and for plenty of other artists, can here be seen as a balance between new challenges and this search for security (attachment), which can also be viewed as the balance between scientific exploration and spontaneous organisation. But both are equally important. Cézannes searched for security among the impressionists and his closest friends, and this helped him to break through as an impressionist.
But later he experienced divergences and doubts, and by the help from a few really good friends e.g. Pissarro and others, and in search for personal acknowledgement, he finally decided to go by his own and to do his exploration of the mountian, the bathers and the portraits in isolation after the break with the neo-impressionists. Maybe Bowlby lacks a concept of "detachment", which could mark the sudden change process, and help us to understand Cézanne beter, but the authentic break of the late modern individual with his fellow "artists", is difficult to understand, because why does he/she select a totally innovative and new path, even though this path is so unpredictable and uncertain.
H.J. Henriksen: Boggy ground 2007
To be a master in your own house
Another recent psychodynamic developmental psychologist also in line with Bowlby, Daniel Stern, emphasize the importance of shifting self-experiences as a major factor in motivation. Key motives according to Stern is the wish to experience connexion, continuity and meaning, in order to be the master in your own house, and of your own actions as paintor or individual and to be connected to your feelings, and being acknowledged also at the same time from the environment now seeing this artistical and developing personal authentic self. Stern mentioned in relation to this factors of motivation the need for development of competences, and self exploration a.o. as mutual interconnected and interacting drivers for profound change.
Bowlbys and Sterns personal developmental models I my view best explain the effect of the refused admision to École de Beaux-arts in Paris. Instead Cézanne entered Académie Suisse, where he met with and developed a near relationship to Camille Pissarro. Around 1870 be began to paint landscapes in the open, substituting (at the same time) the juvenile style with a more disciplined and mature style of his own. All the way there was this search for acknowledgement in play for Cézanne, but also subsequent breaks. Gradually, an increased abstraction entered into his paintings, even though Cézanne never expressed fully nonfigurative paintings.
All the way a continuity in the selection of preferred motives was significant a.o. the mountain Sainte-Victoire and pictures of the bathers, indicating a dream of an earthly paradise. Always the nature was a key object for Cézanne, which corresponded fine with most recent psychoanalytic developmental theories (Bowlby and Stern), with their inspiration based on the relationships between the subject and the environment, as governing factors for motivation and in interaction with the unfolding of the authentic self of the individual / the artist. As it was the case for Cézanne this lead to "detachment", when the "internal conflict" for the mature artist became conscious and required a response and a new path.
H.J. Henriksen: Present moment 2007
An example of the further development of Cézanne's doubt in German expressionism and the artworks of Paul Klee
One of the followers of Cézanne, Paul Klee, has further inspired my suggestion of zonation painting. Paul Klee joined des Blaue Reiters group in Munich in 1910. Later Klee joined the architecht art group Bauhaus in Dresden. In a dialogue with Kadinsky, Paul Klee in the book "On modern art" provided an interesting theory about art as form which grows, something created by the artist working at the trunk and roots of the three, transmitting his art as a chanel, where the task of the artist simply is to gather and to express what comes to him "from the depth".
The artist do not serve neither do he rule, but he transmits. The beauty at the top of the three is not created solely by the artist, the artist is only a chanel, by which line, tone and color are communicated and formed as the formal factors of expression. Here the line is "measurement" (length, angle, radius and focus distance). Color is tone - chiaroscuro - which is the various degrees of black and white which is mixed into the colors applied on canvas, an element which Klee characterized as "weight", and where the different color shapes has to be balanced against each other, and against the white background, or the black background or another grey norm selected.
The third factor - color - has other characteristicas compared to line and weight, because color can not be measured or weighted, color is quality! But in addition color is at the same time weight, because it is formed as a color with a certain tone. And color is measurable, because in addition to its quality and weight it also have a form, a deliniation, an area, which can be measured and which has to follow some mathematical or basic forms e.g. like an arabesque.
It depend on the mood of the artist
About forming a painting Klee says: "...Speaking from my own experience, it depends on the mood of the artist at the time which of the many elements are brought out of their general order, out of their appointed array, to be raised together to a new order and form an image....This choice of formal elements and the form of their mutual relationship is, within narrow limits, analogous to the idea of motif and theme in musical thoughts. With the gradual growth of such an image before the eyes an association of ideas gradually insinuates itself which may tempt one to a material interpretation.
For any image of complex structure can, with some effort of imagination, be compared with familiar pictures from nature...And each formation, each combination will have its own particular constructive expression, each figure its face - its features. I would like now to examine the dimensions of the object in a new light and so try to show how it is that the artist frequently arrives at what appears to be such an arbitrary 'deformation' of natural forms. First, he does not attach such intense importance to natural form as do so many realist critics, because, for him, these final forms are not the real stuff of the process of natural creation.
For he places more value on the powers which do the forming than on the final forms themselves. He is, perhaps unintentionally, a philosopher, and if he does not, with the optimists, hold this world to be the best of all possible worlds, nor to be so bad that it is unfit to serve as a model, yes he says: 'In its present shape it is not the only possible world'. Thus he surveys with penetrating eye the finished forms which nature places before him.
The deeper he looks, the more readily he can extend his view from the present to the past, the more deeply he is impressed by the one essential image of creation itself, as Genesis, rather than by the image of nature, the finished product...He says to himself, thinking of life around him: this world at one time looked different and, in the future, will look different again...But we seek a people. We began over there in the Bauhaus. We began there with a community to which each one of us gave what he had. More we cannot do..." (Paul Klee, 1924: Über die moderne Kunst in: C. Harrison and P. Wood, Art in Theory 1900-2000 An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell Publishing).
The entrance of ambiguity in natural science
Ambiguity is a particular type of uncertainty that occurs where different all equally valid and conflicting perceptions are present on about the same problem, and / or its solutions. When ambiguity makes its appearance, it is not clear what the problem is or what the solutions are. In scientific publications, I and colleagues have described how we developed a hydrological model for the whole country (with 43,000 pixels), used inverse modeling, assessed how different geological models had greater impact on capture recharge zones and solute transport than parameters and water balance issues, and established a terminology for the modeling process where validation, uncertainty assessment and role play between modellers, water managers and reviewer was important to address. It was a quality assurance protocol for many different model domains.
The first time I became aware of ambiguity was in a project where we used Bayesian network for a water catchment in Havelse. The importance of negotiation and active involvement of stakeholders in the modeling was the scope. Here graphical networks could be used for 'participatory modeling', thus extending the body of knowledge to incorporate groundwater quality and drinking water quality indicators as part of the economic model.
At the same time the Groundwater Directive (WFD) was implemented, which meant that sustainability in relation to water abstraction should be classified, and therefore the country-wide model now was used to quantify aquifer safe yield and environmental flow and thus sustainable groundwater abstraction. At the same time it became clear based on interviews with water managers that it was no longer sufficient to understand the complexity of the outer system, values, belief, and world views were just as equal important to understand.
A systematic exploring of uncertainty and ambiguity (doubt)
At that time, the usual way of managing water resources was under change. An example of the new paradigm was explored in the EU research project NeWater which was about adaptive integrated water resources management (adaptive IWRM). This led to the systematic identification of uncertainties associated with IWRM (epistemic, aleatory and ambiguity), and the role of ambiguity began to come under the spotlight, perhaps because implementing the Water Framework Directive proved difficulties in practice.
As part of NeWater we looked at ways to "build models in groups" (group model building) including evolutionary multiobjective optimisation and Bayesian belief networks. We understood that the Water Framework Directive and protocols for modeling most were based on information and consultation of stakeholders, not on the active involvement of stakeholders, which required specific new tools and frameworks such those developed as part of NeWater.
I participated in studies of La Mancha in Spain where we looked at conflicts with irrigation and dried up wetlands in the Guadiana river basin. This led to a concrete testing of new ways to identify uncertainties in IWRM. We began to realize that the modeling of water resources might not be enough in itself, there was also the need to take care of how to communicate messages and how different stakeholders perceived the problem and its solutions.
In NeWater this was referred to as social learning, that is, learning in order to find new ways of looking at the problem and thus identify innovative solutions which subsequently can be mainstreamed back into the regular water management (by double or tripple loop learning). We began to understand that there was a need for a special interface between the advanced technical models used in natural science, and the workshop methods, which are mainly based on organizational psychology, anthropology and human sciences.
Model learning in groups
This special interface has been termed 'participatory modeling', i.e. group model building where the various stakeholders and experts try to understand each other and explore uncertainties and ambiguity as part of model construction. In a way participants are in the middle of an action arena rich in ambiguity which then is explored by participatory modelling (e.g. using Bayesian networks, Fuzzy cognitive maps, System Dynamics, Agent Based Modelling or what the various group model building tools are named).
While the literature on uncertainty was rich, it was more difficult to understand ambiguity. In the beginning the focus was on different strategies for dealing with ambiguity e.g. rational problem solving, persuasion, dialogical learning, negotiation and oppositional modes of action. We understood that we could bring sense into "group model building" when using multi-objective optimization with Bayesian networks. It was important to better communicating and dealing with ambiguity, in order to choose more efficient adaptive strategies and integrate different types of knowledge.
As in Cezanne's doubt, focus was on the process and how to deal with ambiguity as a driver for innovation more than simply reducing ambiguity. But we also recognized that if you really need something more than just ad hoc adaptation, transformation (or rezonation) requires that you better enable the development of future scenarios and incorporate the normative wishes and goals for the future.
Changes in precipitation and temperature will affect the future groundwater level and runoff
The entrance of ambiguity in water management in fact partly was a result of anthropogenic climate change, where it no longer is enough to make decisions based on the knowledge you have from monitoring or historical data, because it is also important now to predict the consequences of changes for hydrology due to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, e.g. how changes in precipitation, evaporation and temperature will affect the future groundwater level and the extreme river runoff (e.g. 100-year return max discharge in rivers).
We understood that climate models had to be downscaled to our hydrological model, but also that there were problems with water balances with systematic errors in measured precipitation and reference evaporation which required corrections. At the same time we achieved in the latest updating of the DK model to incorporate local knowledge and worked on ensuring a more continuous updating of the model.
Attacking the problem from multiple sides at the same time
Today the challenge is how to engage the various stakeholders (authorities, stakeholders and experts) in the development of structured and quantitative scenarios for the future. In order to deal with ambiguity one needs to attack the problem from two sides at the same time. First from the here-and-now where creativity and diversity should allow for an exploratory identification of threats and opportunities from divergent futures (often it may be a good idea to work with 3-4 scenarios that include the various participants' worldviews and visions). Next, a so-called backcasting from the different futures is required from the different endpoints (normative wiches for the future) for all scenarios, in order to identify the short term actions needed to be implemented now in order to achieve the common goals for the future, for example a clean Horsens Fjord in 2050.
Here I will refer to the psychodynamic system theory, e.g. Steen Visholm, RUC, who argues that there actually is a need for more leadership than before, if such adaptive IWRM and other transformational and innovation processes should succeed in learning, and new viable solutions to be mainstreamed into regular planning cycle, transformative climate adaptation and society. What is needed in such processes is not more control, but containment i.e. openness about feelings, fantasies, doubt, lack of knowledge and uncertainty. It is important to welcome the participants knowledge, ideas and creativity and not become overwhelmed. Avoid 'groupthink' and assure room for reality checks. You have to respect differences in focus, knowledge and perceptions of the world by the other participants.
So human science has to some extent recovered what it might have lost to the social and natural science, and by offering an understanding of human subjectivity, perceptions, values and beliefs, such understanding has a key role in adaptive IWRM and anticipatory, transformative climate adaptation. Here I think the metaphor 'Cezanne doubt' shed also light on ambiguity as part of the process of painting, and how you arrive to the final artwork in a process starting in the here-and-now and all the way dealing with doubt and ambiguity.
Art is to realise a new world-view
Zonation, psychoanalysis and modern painting have something in common. As expressed by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard it is a question of "loosing foothold for a moment", to allow the new to emerge and happen, and then to let the painting take on form as suggested by Paul Klee.
Let me finalise this introduction with a quotation from Peter Fuller (1980): Art and psychoanalysis: "Although the modern movement failed, for reasons we have already explored, to realise a new 'world-view' through painting, in the work of Cezanne himself and of at least some of his successors - e.g. Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, Klee, and later De Kooning - it did re-introduce to painting an aspect which had been absent from it, or at least heavily muted, during the era of the dominance of professional fine artists.
These early modernist painters certainly acknowledged the external otherness, the separateness and 'outhereness' of the outside world, but having acknowledged it, they sought to transfigure and transform it, to deny, or otherwise to interrupt it, as a means of expressing subjective feelings too. Their new forms emerge as neither an indulgence nor an escape from the world, but rather as an extension into an occluded area of experience".
Recent inspiration for Copenhagen city landscaptes
In recent years I have moved from an abstract expressionist position towards a figurative-expressionist, lyrical painting style which I have coined zonation painting, using an artistic process rich in spontaneity, free association and the senses, has been influence by Cezanne and his followers and by psychodynamics. Psychodynamics help artists to tune in, stay with objects and create art avoiding defensive traps and being in passion. After having started with water colour and drawings, I began working in oil for a series of works taking influence from geology and arabesques. Soon my inspiration turned towards abstract expressionism before I became interested in post-impressionism.
Cézanne, Klee and their followers influenced works focusing on motives from Copenhagen city landscapes in which I adopted an almost tonalist style, with emphasis on aesthetic integration of lines, tones and colours. I am now working with acrylics toward and expressionist and figurative direction, as explained with the three first figurative, abstracted-figurative and abstract examples of my zonation paintings. In my most recent serie I work with the dialectics between figuration and abstraction inspired by paintors as e.g. Nicolas de Staël and Tim Eitel.
Read a very short summary of my ideas in International Contemporary Artists, Vol. II, 2011 (page 101):
Taplinger, Maurice (2010) "Zonation" in the Art of Hans Jørgen Henriksen.
Gallery&Studio, April/May 2010. Vol. 12 No. 4. Page 22. New York.
H.J. Henriksen: Drawing 3 July 2008
1 Poul Erik Tøjner (2003:46) Per Kirkeby maleri. Forlaget Bjerggard (In Danish)
2 Metaphore about om the big city human being introduced by Carsten Valentin Jørgensen from the record ”Vild i Varmen” (1978). The big city bedouine ”born and to die in this desser” (i the big city). (In Danish)
3 S. Visholm (1993:22). (In Danish)
4 Heinskou, Torben og Steen Visholm (2004) Psykodynamisk organisationspsykologi - på arbejde under overfladen. Hans Reitzel Forlag. (In Danish)
5 P.E. Tøjner (2003:50). (In Danish)