Writings » Sigrid Sandström, Leap of Sight - 2012

Seeing allows us to navigate the world. Through perception we become oriented in space and time. Seeing is also cognitive. While painting, the relationship between hand, mind and eye is interdependent and coextensive. Painting can be and do many things.

A painting is an excess or plenitude of time. Past, present and future all exist in an apparently motionless space, reaching in all directions. Painting can interrupt and extend the temporal aspects of seeing. A painting can also operate as an actor and a stage, protagonist and plot all at once. This peculiar, almost chameleon-like sliding between roles and functions enables painting to exist inside as well as outside of itself. It can be referential as well as experiential. The initial gestural mark indicates a present but already belongs to the past. A painting can trace an inquisitive visual activity of not yet knowing, and become a kind of archeology of practice.

I set out to discover how to paint rather than asking why or what. My aim is for the first encounter with the painting to involve a stake or investment kept in suspense.

When viewers look at a painting, they 'see' the absence of a body. This absence is registered by the marks of a hand, the traces of bodily action. But the maker is absent – the viewer's body is separated from that of the painter's. A distance is introduced and the painting becomes an object for projection both by the painter and the viewer. This disconnect between the process of making and the process of viewing, the before and after, is an essential condition to the experience of looking at a painting. To a certain extent the paintings operate as shields, as devices to communicate but simultaneously keep the maker and viewer at a distance. In one sense the blank or white spaces could be suggestive of beginnings, or as reconsiderations: literal blank sheets, reflective surfaces bouncing back at the viewer. What is seen as an outcome could also mirror the beginning. Hierarchies keep shifting. What we see cannot be said.

These paintings do not aim at legibility. Instead, they ponder the unnamable and take no interest in delivering a message. I prefer to see them as projections. Like empty signs, they speak about a void of meaning.

What does "a void of meaning " suggest? Could it mean nothing? Parsing the word nothing, it denotes 'no-thing'. It is the negation of objecthood, the absence of categorical presence. Yet things are not restricted to the material world; a thought, an idea, or an impression can equally be considered a thing. And like silence, a theoretical condition that can only find imperfect form within the real world—similarly the condition of nothing will also inevitably be compromised. The final image is never absolute, but is insistently suggested. At this moment the painting from the painter's point of view is now on its own. Irreversible. Untouchable. Independent.