Maria Friberg, Still Lives 3.

The Heart and The Concept of The Heart - Aveli

by Tchera Niyego

Aveli, "Hidden Truth". Acrylic on canvas rolls, 24" x 24"x 2"

Any name given, is a concept.


 

"A concept, as explored in mainstream, is a cognitive unit of meaning; information science, metaphysics, philosophy of mind… In Latin conceptum as ‘something conceived’; clearly implying the dual nature of a concept. Philosophically concepts are a fundamental ontological category of ‘being’; body and environment, questioning the meaning of being, etc. Especially in the contexts of information and computer science, the term ‘concept’ is more often than not, used in unclear and/or inconsistent ways.


 

It has been argued that epistemology (study of knowledge) should evaluate people’s attributes such as intellectual virtues; and not only propositional mental attitudes because understanding involves features that cannot be evaluated from a view of justification, mitigation or validation by so-called-fact alone."


 

Then there is the long and well-established tradition philosophy that posits philosophy itself to be nothing more than conceptual analysis. This creative analysis differs from previous definitions of philosophy as simple reasoning, communication or contemplation of universals, as here we are now involved also in computation, juxtaposition and permutations of concepts. Yet contemporary concepts are specific to the philosophy that science creates “functions”, and art “sensations”.


 

In her work titled “Lost in a Crowd”, Aveli texts “Being the Faith”. Her voice being clear and clean as a well educated one from a family of artists and architects; she transposes and appropriates it most directly as dimensionality, color and text. As a ‘Minimalist’ and ‘Conceptual Artist ’ she certainly takes precedence over aesthetics or material concerns. As an artist however Aveli’s work offers more for the curious. After “Being the Faith” the chain of thought goes “Faith is God”. The word god gets on our nerves for good reason, it is probably the most used, misused and abused word of all time, so now no two people derive the same meaning from it. But if we take it as yet another concept, the free association – ‘Lost in a Crowd’- ‘Being the Faith’—‘Faith is God’ – goes way beyond even the most inclusive of all concepts. As long as god is still one (being), we’re still in concept land. Nevertheless being a concept “Faith is God” is an idea that can take us off to the twilight zone and perhaps get us utterly lost in contemplation.


 

Legendary conceptualist and minimalist Sol LeWitt said: “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” Yet unless one is a hedonist, the idea that art’s job is to create ‘sensations’ doesn’t make much sense as it doesn’t include the Divine Mystery informing the creative process; the intuitive aspect of being’. It is not an aesthetic that uses the power to evoke rather than directly being the thing itself. Artistic skills whether obtained through schooling or self-taught, can sufficiently create sensations. In terms of compatibility of execution, conveyance and finesse Aveli’s work is pretty much perfection really at the cost of several fractions on her arms due to her diligence and consistency in producing work that entails hard labor. As primary and important as these components have come to pass in the Western contemporary art world, I on the contrary believe that without the cognitive and spiritual essence of the work and its intangible intentionality, Aveli’s high skillfulness, hard work and even her innovativeness in creating new ways of presenting materials would be without much more worth than the mass produced decorative art.


 

Artwork that occupies an intimate space that hovers on the cusp of illusionism, not quite ‘reality’ or ‘unreality’, simultaneously separated from naturalism but still sustained by the shadow of representation through symbols, as the awesome mystic David Chaim Smith so generously teaches; is such that Aveli visits and brings insights back from. Works that not only instantly create sensation in the viewer and change moods but that also work subtly on us creating inscrutable effects that bloom tenfold in its course of time...


 

Rendering the audience active in viewing the work is a dynamic Aveli takes seriously in her creative process. The works are interactive in subtle ways such as being one color when viewed from one very particular perspective and a different color viewed from a different angle. Sound is a most dominant underlying thread that ties Aveli’s works all together and is one of the enigmatic aspects of her work. Alfred Schnittke and sometimes Cecil Taylor comes to mind. Aveli is a former ballerina.


 

One is coaxed in the presence of Aveli; she is a fast creature moving gracefully. Her movement spontaneously creates a triple version of her as she goes around, quite like seeing two more of her, one right-behind and another right in front of her- only more transparent- not like one would imagine to see when intoxicated but more like the vibrations that might be seen when fast movement takes place. When I saw her most authentic and chaotic studio in NJ, I imagined her working in front of her grand set up as the one and only Aveli though; in her equilibrium. She shows at two- three venues in NY and NJ at any given time, showing at Art Fairs such as the up-coming Scope Miami, selling in Europe… You might be able catch 10's of her moving all together seeming to be a dreamy dance somewhere in mid Manhattan.


 

The “Black & White” and “Red” Series, especially the piece titled “True”, are her hard-core works. These are the very abstractions, the priors and the unifying elements of the totality of the ‘Rolls” that Aveli has been producing since 2005. The series of rolls are titled “Viewpoint 3.14”. Also known as Pi and is the mathematical constant (3.141593…) that is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. A never ending or repeating, irrational number that cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction… Aveli is also a trained architect. She rolls painted strips of canvas, lines them up in a row using the structure of repeated rolls to stress the main visual concept. Circle in the square…


 

”Hidden Truth”; a piece in the Black & White Series, goes very far and so close to heart whispering; ‘Silence or peace is related to chaos or turbulence.”


 

Like many an immigrant, Aveli holds a memory of watching American movies, from 20 years ago in the beautiful city of Lvov and developing ideas of American culture. When she watched the movie “China Syndrome” back then and saw the scene where they were saying “Hi, Bye!” to each other from across the street, this image was carved into her mind. She wondered what a wonderful place it might be where people say “HI, Bye!” to each other. She says “All words have colors for me…” Among her small works “Hi, Bye!” is purple, lilac, blue and white. Made in 2011.


 

On “One Word” which Aveli created for an exhibition project on censorship, she says; “As many thoughts are created by genius, only one word is seen by daylight.” This piece is less-than-half dark, where the thoughts sink, and the other part, that is more than half of the whole canvas, is light with one word on it: “One Word”. The paradox lies where one would not expect; in the underground artists, scientists, musicians, creatives who produce work and although they don’t know it, sometimes they have the power; not the authorities. What comes out into the daylight is one word and subtle $ signs that managed to lift up from the underground. Well, if there was such a thing as underground left that is; the word is, there is no more ‘underground’… Aveli is an optimist without a single doubt.


 

During our conversations once Aveli said “I hear letters” and we both continued as if she had said something completely mundane. As we went on though I was becoming more and more stimulated by what she said. What did she mean? Another time, also while she was answering my questions, she said “…sound of hearing…”


 

Aveli keeps progressing. Fast… When she pulls out a small bright-green work, my immediate reaction is loud and clear; “WOW!”; she says ‘Exactly’ and then I see the word that the rolled canvasses are covered with: “WOW”! “WOW!”, no? Being engaged in Aveli’s work, staying with them and listening to them is a feeling experience more than a heady one. We know in the back of our head and in front of our eyes that this is no accident, that much contemplating and cultivating has been invested for each idea and in each piece still one feels they are alive. One has a conversation with them maybe changing how we feel. Spontaneous togetherness makes feeling light.


 

Words with colors and letters with sounds, hearing, speaking, communication and semantics are what Aveli deciphers, decodes, interprets, codes and reveals. The way she works with words is not pragmatic or static as one might think. Black words on yellow background gradating from light yellow into a deep ochre and the contrast between pitch black words and light background conveys cutting unexpected, sometimes unwanted sounds in to our world through our ears. Other people’s words, sort of slash their way into our consciousness, and not merging with us in an organic way. Disambiguation is where her most recent work ‘Strangers Talk” stands. When I saw it, I became totally enchanted, happy and curious all of a sudden. The artist says; “As strangers talk around us we tend not to listen, but somehow we are dragged into it anyway…” In “Strangers Talk” the words, then letters curl out into the air that we share…


 

Aveli’s new series is titled “Grey Area”! She has it all figured out and can hardly wait to execute. It is a delicious subject matter.

Aveli, "Rules". Acrylic on canvas rolls

Aveli, "Doubts". Acrylic on canvas rolls

Couture Action - Pauline Bloomfield

by Tchera Niyego

Pauline Bloomfield’s work bleeds and gushes way over the pieces she creates. Technically a textile artist, and originally trained as an illustrator, she is really a storyteller; a narrator opening space.

 

Born in England to Jamaican parents the artist’s essential feature is the female principal; black yet comely. The heavenly bride and mother often depicted holding the space in Bloomfield’s work is emptiness itself gloriously full of all that is possible.

African and Caribbean poetry, short stories, myths and legends; inspire and inform Bloomfield’s artwork. The artist has been teaching for the Embroiderer’s Guild for over 18 years. She also teaches pottery and English literacy, her art indeed overflowing through action.

Painted silk chiffon, organzas, dupion silks and various cottons are layered building up the pieces on an unprocessed cotton base, also known as muslin or calico, using a sewing machine to draw whiplash lines and circles composing the space in which space will pour herself out seamlessly, like water pouring into water... The figure is stitched on last using filler-work techniques and finer details such as the face, fingers, toes and hair are hand stitched with finesse.

“The Decision”, 2013. Hand and machine embroidery on silk

habotai, felts and organzas, 26cmx20cm

The main character ever-present in Bloomfield's work as the binding element of all is a blissful one. Her flux and flow inseparable from her environment allow the viewer a sensation of easeful vigor merging with and floating in the elements.

She is the embodiment of beauty dwelling in intimacy. Bloomfield’s work is an invitation. Who can resist!?

“Juok the Creator”, 2012. Hand and machine embroidery on muslins, felts and silk habotai, 39cmx71cm. Inspired by the legend of Lover’s Leap, Jamaica

Richard Lewsey's Attires of Twillight

by Tchera Niyego

Maria Friberg, Still Lives 3.

When we see our mother’s face there’s never a process of digesting the input thinking ‘mother’, as we do with less familiar things, not in such close proximity like ‘bed sheet’ or ‘oh, Amy, we’d met last summer..’ and ‘cat’, ‘scissors’, ‘bag’, or ‘magnolias’… each changing in its lapse of timing between seeing the thing and re-cognizing it. This is a most descriptive of intimacy. Say we see a sculpture-like-chair designed by a talented architect, such as Yilmaz Zenger who is also an industrial designer and sculptor - and the chair is highly unusual in relation to all the chairs we’ve ever seen thus far; it’s quite likely that there might be a crack, a tiny time lapse in our categorization of the object into the ‘chairs’ pile as opposed to registering a thonet. We rationalize and we conceptualize- that’s what we human beings are habituated to do and it all goes unquestioned as we don’t even realize it pretty much any of the time.

 

Richard Lewsey’s work runs volumes in establishing intimacy and with a sense immediacy. At the first sight of his piece titled ‘Self-portrait’ I recognized it immediately as the sun. There was no doubt in mind that indeed it was a presentation of the sun and provided the warmth of the artist’s view with intense intimacy. It looked so fragile yet indestructible. British artist Richard Lewsey’s ‘Self-portrait’ is utterly expressive with minimal touches of oil on a piece of round wood. In fact the oils seem to have appeared by way of unintentional occasion(s), maybe someone was passing by with some paint on their hands that hardly even rubbed the aged wood, or maybe those tiny colors of orange and yellow leaked from a window down onto the frail piece of wood while it was laying on the street. I wondered whether it was indeed a found piece of wood or the artist had carved it into its delicate round shape. I had to muster my courage to ask this question to him once I started writing on his work, as I’d come across some artists who would get offended in the happenstance that it was carved. I felt the happiness of being validated on my educated guess- the wood was a found piece painted with a few sensitive and simple strokes of oils. I felt that my question brought us closer with the artist too as I became happy to come across an artist with seemingly resolved identity issues and he seemed glad to hear of my understanding of his work. Most refreshing when that happens…

 

The warmth of the sun’s face -with it’s multiple eyes, all tender and affectionate yet some piercing and fierce, others sleeping, gazing, watching and sometimes curious but always loving and not judging- more of a question mark rather than a statement, filled me with the impulse of touching it, feeling it’s texture, to put its cheek on my lips which I immediately did. I was terribly disappointed finding the glassed frame between us cold and indifferent. It was protected but didn’t the artist know better than anyone else could that it did not need protection? What if its death was inevitable, then it would simply die yet it was a timeless piece, free of circumstances and even of existence itself. I wished I could break the frame and free the face of the sun but I didn’t. Maybe the artist was right after all, maybe it had to stay under the protection of the glass.

 

For some strange reason I’d also felt no doubt that it was more or less the size of a human face when I’d seen an image of this piece earlier actually, in The New Collectors Book, but now there it was to be exhibited at the Book’s Launch Exhibition merely a 3.5 in diameter.

 

Lewsey’s work is incurably romantic. He accomplishes a beautiful decay anew calling us back; back to the times when art asked everything the artist’s got and with the devotion and commitment to give his life freely, with no promises ever spoken of. This is the light that Lewsey’s dark paintings give off to the viewer. It’s a rare gift one can view infrequently if lucky during this age of the degenerate state of the art contemporain. Lewsey’s pieces of oil on tin, clay, paper, and found objects, many times convey primal subject matters such as ‘ Seven Deadly Sins’ while being created in an ‘unconscious’ kind of way, as the artist puts it. There is really not a trace of an entity behind the works; they seem to have appeared out of thin air without ever being touched.

 

Furthermore, Lewsey’s ‘British’ identity does make itself felt in tones with its humorousness. The work’s being devoid of any self-importance serves as a subtlety in the artist’s sense of humor. It is highly specific and not funny really; dark as they are and taking themselves lightly in a sort of outright heart-broken absolute aloneness which is chosen consciously unlike the unconsciousness Lewsey mentions in the selection of his choice of subject matters that much matter.

 

The work feels like the deep of space yet of this world in a down-to-earth manner. Loneliness is welcome in the understanding of a natural state. We see things in the process of becoming, or rather uncertain as to what they want to become and therefore constantly shifting as we view them. Sometimes this action is in the process of emerging and at other times they seem to be dissolving.

 

All in all, Lewsey’s work is truly aspiring in its subtlety and simplicity while his use of color, composition and abstractions are all together divorced from commercial concerns. Minute details bring alive anything, making characters wear the twilight in the translucency of their 1910 attires with minimal oil in 2011 on tin and in the Emil Cioran clay head ever so resurrected by the artist.

Maria Friberg, Still Lives 3.

TINDERSTICKS - The Music in Kelley Zelen's Figures

by Tchera Niyego

Kelly Zelen creates sculptures utilizing super fine metal wools; specifically stainless steel, bronze, copper and brass wools. Very fine metal wool is also used as tinder in emergency situations, as it burns even when wet and can be ignited by a spark to produce heating. The artist feels that the very name of the material, metal wool, is a contradiction in terms.

Zelen also utilizes rebar, mortar, lace, pastel, epoxy and cement, creating sculptures of human forms and figures, often using exaggerations and distortions of size and shape to convey the particularities and peculiarities of the disposition. She notes that we are both strong and fragile, that our flesh is supple and yet our emotions can often be abrasive; that we ought to be positive yet we brood…

“Many of the pieces depict smoking…” Zelen says; “I don’t smoke. But the act seems very contemplative to me. Even if the figures are trying to climb their way out of cement.”…  What are we actually doing when we are smoking? Taking some smoke inside the lungs and letting it out… It’s a kind of breathing exercise; it’s taking a moment…  for breathing as opposed to probably doing something more aggressive otherwise; a bit goofy, grungy and polluted but still a joining in essence.

Kelly Zelen, “If she waited any longer…” Mortar, pastel, bronze wool. Aprox. 7” high.

“She took in under advisement” “is a life-size piece depicting a young woman sitting on the floor; naked, smoking. Her legs are tied together just above the knees. She gazes into space, seemingly far away. The feet that are disproportionately large sign to the giving much importance to the so-called-outer phenomenon, thereby being suppressed and weighted down by the surrounding world from which one feels separate. Both feet being turned in shying off and one crossed over the other shutting the world out to protect vulnerable sexuality. The intensity of this piece moves from its head to belly – the heart being out of alignment from the acute slouching – and sucked right down into the earth through the bottom of the spine. Bruise on the left knee signifying impaired faculty of the thinking processes; despair rules.

Another life-size piece comes around a pillar at the Colo Colo Gallery in MA where Zelen is showing 10 new works in her first solo exhibition titled “Pulling the Wool”. This figure, caught still in movement, with one leg in the air walking into the open space seems to ask us to “stop” with her softly gesturing large left hand. “The shoe broke” is the title of the piece. Zelen says that sometimes it’s narrative and sometimes a response to what she’s experienced. She hates getting too philosophical…

The artist relates; “I’ve often had people ask me, “Are you ok? You look …” sad/ upset, angry. In my mind I’m merely in thought. I’m not sure what has leaked out onto my face. Or what gesture alludes to what is really going on in my mind, in my heart?” and she asks with honest concern; “How are you … Really?

“He walked to the store on the cornerYard cloth, rebar, mortar, stainless steel wool. 7ft tall.

“He walked to the store in the corner”; a third life-size piece at 7” high in this show is a figure dressed all in black, wearing a hooded top and pants, walking from one corner of the gallery with his hands in his pockets. We can see nothing of his person except the outline and his general demeanor. He obviously does not wish to be seen – although he is wearing white sneakers. It must be something he really craved from the store otherwise he would probably not have left the isolation of his room. Maybe it’s cigarettes. Maybe he’s in hiding. He is tall, skinny and striking. I wonder if he has a deep voice…

Zelen resumes; “In building up layers of wool, I create forms that attempt to portray the little voice inside us, that voice that sometimes breaks through the surface and gives us away… I imagine what it would look like if I could strip away the flesh and bone and expose the culprits in their raw forms.”

“It’s done.” Yard cloth, epoxy, wire, mortar, cement, pastel. Aprox. 2ft tall.

“It’s done.” A man sitting alone on a high cliff looking down, smoking… His folded arms on his lap look like a dead baby he’s holding. They seem to be the very objects of all of this man’s regrets, wrongdoings, shame, lost love and dreams. His penis is exposed, hanging loose and impotent.

A man absent-mindedly adjusting his penis in “He made adjustments”; a woman walking out of the restroom with her skirt tucked in her pantyhose, although not literally so, unaware in “They told her to be the lookout” and another intermeshed with the ground she sits on, pulling off and onto her right leg with all her might in “Pulling out”, deal with the issue of desire more often than not taking sexual implications. Zelen considers the wish we sometimes have to make the effort for “fixing the imperfections” to be a noble yet endless goal, and she observes that other times we just want to hide the universally shared blemishes of being human, in hopes no one sees/ knows.

The sculptures are exhibited by means of raw and creative solutions as well in this show. The minute details become remarkably complimentary to the artist’s intentions in conveying the particulars of each work. The usage of simple metal and wood shelving appliances without any design, and the technical precision in terms of creating the ‘imperfection’ the artist admits to finding surprisingly hard to accomplish in her work, is admirable. In the presentation of “It’s done.” the empty space created by the lack of wood-shelf phenomenon between the metal legs holding the shelf and the shelf used in the installation totally adds to the feeling of insecurity and the danger posed by the character of letting himself down the cliff.  In “She is trapped in February” small raw wood pieces used for supporting the piece to be seated also create a stair-like allusion to the arrogance and resistance with which the statue holds her chin up; coming down. The appreciation of asymmetry is the key that allows us as the viewer to marvel at this work that the gallery owner and curator Luis Villanueva reads as having a brutal quality.

The heavy female figure with thinning red hair is appalled and as an image of anguish “If she waited any longer”, it seems she could explode, already screaming her lungs out while the male figure on the top of that cliff squats now taking strength from the earth with his very large hands to lift himself up in “Rising above”. This body of work is an outcry; “Despair is ruled out!”

The In-Between of Relationship

by Tchera Niyego

Maria Friberg, Still Lives 3.

“Valentina & Mom” Courtesy of the Artist

Beril Gulcan starts the “Between You and Me” project in order to explore the mother/ daughter relationship. During her journey having photographed various mother/ daughters in natural daylight, each in the very space they live their daily lives, and observing the plays, the conflicts; the happenings, pains and pleasures taking place in front of her camera during the shoots, she is prompted to inquire into her own relationship with her mother directly. At this point the artist decides a self-portrait with her mother necessary as a test, to find out about their relationship in the reflection of the image.

Three years later Gulcan feels the captured image is somewhat too aggressive and does not reflect the dynamics of their relationship with her mother today any longer. The project is still a work-in-progress, continuing to capture images not only of mothers and daughters but also father/ sons, brothers and other familial relationships within their own habitats via a medium format analog camera.

 

Through Gulcan’s semi-documentary images of the human condition we sense clearly that no matter how different the culture and conditioning from which the particular persons may be coming from, we are indeed fundamentally very similar in our psychological make up. The grasping of the mother towards her son, the pride another seems to feel entitled to on account of her daughter, the anger of the daughter towards the mother, or the seeming indifference in yet another case; the affection, the fear, the attachment and the bond; the comradery of brother/ sister, the pity one has for his mother’s grasping, the vengefulness of supposedly having let go while the other is fixated, the anxiety, the hopes and anticipation of a long life the little baby should have ahead, the protectiveness, possessiveness, co-dependency... Above all the so- called- security of being related in blood, bone and marrow ... We reminisce Mike Leigh movies ... Is this love?

Desiring security perpetually recreates boundaries of thought/ time. We love our prison with its walls made of conflict. That is the conflict between ‘what I actually am’ and the notion of ‘what I should be’; ‘should be’ being the projection of thought imposing an image of myself, into the simple facticity of what is actually happening. As opposed to attending to what is happening, I relate only through the self-image, to the image memory has created of the other person. Now we already have six entities in a relationship; the mother, the daughter (or brother/ sister, husband/ wife, etc.), their designated images of themselves and of each other. The empty space in the room is in fact full of our predetermined conceptions ... Thinking plays all the major parts in our relationships as well as all of the supporting roles – kind of like Being John Malkovich.

 

“Between You & Me” Series is an inquiry out of the predicament of conflict. Gulcan lays bare the qualities we seem to have accepted as the inevitable ways of being human, such as the suppressed/ overflowing sexuality in “Klara and Her Daughter”; or the underlying motto “Ease of War” in “Ily’s Daughter”, and the plea “I Want to be your Friend” in “Hannah & Vita”; posing the very important question “Can we ever be completely free of every kind of conflict?” ... In her self-portrait with her mother the artist moves forward and almost out of the picture as if she might pass right through us, only while her left hand is left behind assuring her mother it’s all right. The mother seems somewhat pleasantly surprised, a bit skeptical, and august.

 

Is it possible at all to be completely free of self-images projected by thought and to never again create them? What would our relationships be made of then?

Maria Friberg, Still Lives 3.

Viggo Salting's Picture Stories for Youth

by Tchera Niyego

The Smile That Lasts A Mile

                                   Volume 1

Viggo Salting

When children see clowns they instinctively think 'deluded adult’. They are much too clever to buy the big red ball as a ‘real’ nose. More interestingly, they are much too bright to be fooled with the big feet to be ‘unreal’ just the same. Children seem to have it all going for them that we so-called-adults long forgot about.

During the two years I worked as a clown -hired mostly for birthday parties of toddlers to adolescent- I endured three basic reactions the kids had for clowns. One; they are scared to death and cry out loud for their life, two; they hate the ‘demented grown-up’ so they attack with all their might kicking, punching and humiliating the joy out of you; or three; -and this is most rare among all kids-, they identify with the ‘poetic’ clown and love you.  Surprisingly enough there’s not much a clown can do to change this initial gut reaction either. No magic tricks, physical comedy routines, animal shaped balloon-making or face-painting is much likely to change the child’s mind.

Jody was the stage name of the romantic clown that decided Viggo Salting’s fate, as the artist puts it, at the age of 30 upon visiting the circus for the first time with his beautiful wife and three young children. Clearly as the relating to a dramatic rhythm and beauty decides one’s fate regardless of age…

ViGGo the clown wants to be the smile. Once he finds himself as a painter, he hides the sadness of his audience as a clown. He then ‘Carries it Out-of-the-Circus’ on his back until it is transformed into ‘The Smile that Lasts a Mile”. A mile connotes forever.  ViGGo can dance with skillful means as our little princess at home can dance the ballet and indeed he can drum just like the little prince to whom we can safely read the artist’s story at bedtime. ViGGo can perform magic with his nose as well but the clown becomes thoughtful when it comes to magic, music and poetry.

Wonder the determinate attribute of Salting’s clown that hangs on the moon. This is the aspect of the ‘thinking clown’ mirrored as dew in his shoes.

Salting illustrates the sadness of the clown along with the old entertainer – a second character of a clown with the long nose and an altogether different attitude and aptitude as opposed to the benevolent clown with the round nose. Who can meet Pinocchio the lying puppet and continue to live to honestly say they are innocent? We could make a case saying that one is no longer a child once introduced with Pinocchio and/or paradoxically that one can no longer assume the pose of a true adult once the wooden figure enters the picture with his nose getting longer with every white lie. Pinocchio is Salting’s clown witnessing himself suddenly standing still, bathed in spotlight at the center of the circus ring as the climax of the artist’s story in the third volume of his picture books for children of all ages. Here we see the two faces of the clown; the humble one bowing down while the traitor gives him in, informed by the little rascal standing with his nose up in the air.  The backward spinning has begun. The entertainer now with his smile between his fingers reaches out to his Friend, climbing up and running. The return is the very-heart of Viggo Salting’s story that which we will leave for the playful imaginations of the children the artist’s story is to be told to.

Salting started responding to life through his pencil at the age of four. The young artist employed Donald Duck and other Disney characters as his clowns, already informing the world of our folly.  Nevertheless today, it seems increasingly more than ever; we grown-ups much too easily buy into the Lady GaGa tunes, crowning the clown of pop ‘the Queen of Downloads’.

 

In Salting’s decidedly happy-ending picture stories for youth however, dancing, smiling and laughing the two clowns merge in silence. A ray of sun finds its way through the clown’s tent enlightening children of all ages and the music begins…