Writings » Sigrid Sandström, Notes on Nothing of Painting - 2011

Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this, saying it's me? - Samuel Beckett

Recurrent within my recent work has been the inclusion of large areas of under-determinacy; monochrome expanses that could be suggestive of beginnings, or as reconsiderations: literal blank sheets. These evoke most directly my engagement with the objectification of nothing. Parsing the word apart, 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, idea or impression can equally be considered a thing. The ambition within the work is therefore to supplant the designated subject and the ontological construction with an indeterminacy. I am interested in what arises from this nothingness and whether it is in fact possible for a painting to maintain such an ontological status. For like silence, in which a theoretical condition can only find imperfect form within the real world, similarly the condition of nothing will also inevitably be compromised.

To extend the aural analogy in reference to my work, this silence could be more accurately thought of as muteness. Within the paintings and through the process of their creation there is an intentional state of nondisclosure. The making is left unsaid, obscured, what is seen is an outcome, hopefully are solutions. Yet within this process of creation there are invariably a diversity and multitude of experimentations and discoveries. Yet I wish for this process to remain obfuscated by the resolution. This position does not feel arbitrary or solipsistic, the necessity of the appreciation of a disconnect between making and viewing, the before and after, is an essential condition of the experience of looking at a painting.

From these considerations a continuum with my earlier approaches within painting can be discerned. My former work was intent on a comprehension and articulation of place, and the nature of the coexistence of the depicted and the experiential in the act of viewing a painting. This took the form of paintings of disjunctive views of landscape. The work articulated a personal mapping of place and as such can be contrasted with my current approach. However, concerns persist and overlap from this earlier work to my current practice. The pursuit of the work is now realized through a different approach, not that with a specific goal in mind but rather with the desire to embrace and revel in the obscurities and lost tracks within the process. To arrive at an outcome where that may actually feel mute or opaque. Yet the specifics and experiential encounters with places, particularly the remote and non-inhabited continues to exert an influence in my thinking in respect to the paintings. It is as though I am seeking to create an absolute nearness between the idea and experience of these places and the paintings. I hope that the concealed can be left concealed and the unsaid unsaid.