Oskar Kokoschka, the Austrian painter, poet and playwright, turned his gaze toward the fantasies rummaging around and through his conscious and unconscious mind. OK, he often signed his works with just his initials, was intrigued by the investigations of Freud and Jung into the complexities of dreams and fantasies. Kokoschka sought a painterly style which would engage him into the mysteries of dreams. Fortunately for us, the artist had quite a lot to say verbally on the subject of dreams and fantasies which helps us, the observer, open up the various layers of his imagery for analysis. With regards to dreams and fantasies, Kokoschka wrote:
“Consciousness is a sea ringed with visions…True dreams and visions should be as visible to the artist as the phenomena of the objective world…The life of the consciousness is boundless. It interpenetrates the world and is woven in all its imagery…Therefore, we must hearken closely to our inner voice…The awareness of imagery is part of living… a life which derives its power from within itself will focus on the perception… of images…How do I define a work of art? It is not an asset in the stock-exchange sense, but a man’s timid attempt to repeat the miracle that the simplest peasant girl is capable of at any time, that of magically producing life out of nothing…Open your eyes at last and see… now I will open the book of the world for you; there are no words in it, just pictures.”
Do you agree with the artist’s understanding of dreams and fantasies? Do you respond to your own dreams and fantasies as you develop your studio or non-studio work? Your thoughts?
Oskar Kokoschka, Self Portrait
Oskar Kokoschka, Bride of the Wind, 1913