2012 – oil on canvas, 160×200 cm / 63×79 in
“When the wind blows into our eyes our soul gives us wings”.
These were the wings which directed Ulysses back home after his Odyssey. It is these wings which, for me, have opened the door to the Orient, to a culture so profoundly different from ours, although not alien to my thinking. As I explained in the opening speech for my “Spiritus Mundi” exhibition in China, it is the Universal Conscience, independent from the country where we live or the culture in which we were raised, which enables us to perceive the deeper truth of life on our planet.
To see the Chinese Penelope (Yin) wait for her Odysseus (Yang) reminds me of the words of Lao Tzu: “There was something undivided and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger of being exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of all things. I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the TAO”.
When young we travel to conquer; in age our roots start pulling, directing us back to our port of departure, as if this could be a salvation from our inexorable end. Ulysses and the Odyssey are thus a paradigm, a mirror of ourselves. We spend our life finding ways toward knowledge, conquering the world by overcoming more or less successfully one obstacle after another, and the moment we reach our final destination we leave this existence, only to start another. What is left back on earth is our love, our Conscience, symbolized in my Cloak.
Although I’m fairly advanced on my Odyssey, I still feel this insatiable curiosity which, in recent years, has allowed me to discover the incredible riches of Chinese culture. I’m grateful for this wonderful experience. Penelope has to wait, I’m still on my way.