"A man never goes as far as when he knows not where he goes."
Robert Musil
L’homme sans qualités

While it may be difficult to describe painting, it is even more difficult to write about the artist, because of all the arts, painting begins in the secrets of the soul. Painting does not have to justify its intentions or state of mind. I have therefore chosen to write more specifically about the painting process rather than about the paintings themselves.

I have always been convinced that an artist is most sincere when he or she accepts to be guided without knowing the final destination. I accept as a prior condition that I will not know in advance what my work look like, as it emerges from the confused and sometimes contradictory process of painting. My painting begins in the subconscious and new forms appear even before I am able to develop any conscious awareness of them. I believe in the existence of collective memory, whereby the entire human experience resides in every person, including the myths, legends, rituals, gestures and primitive instincts. During the course of my work, I try to keep the faculty of reason at a distance in order to rediscover the magic and the intuition and allow my soul to guide my hand. I only engage in conscious reflection once the work is completed.

Through my painting I seek to discover unexpected presences and create a state of fascination. Painting is a cognitive tool that allows me to refine my concept s of world and reality. This reality is often remote and can only be approached with infinite caution as it often appears under the semblance of symbols. Painting helps me give meaning to life and contemplate the world in a state of grace, while living in a world that often stifles the soul.

That which I seek to attain through my work, with the utmost humility, is far greater than the mere visual effect. I strive to reach a new form of the sacred. In every painting, I attempt to recreate the mystery of transcendence and to give form to an "other" presence.

My painting is not anecdotal and is not meant to be at the service of history or any other cause, however praiseworthy it may be. It seeks first and foremost to go beyond the constraints of time, especially the time which conditions our perception of reality. A glimpse at eternity…

I have always enjoyed comparing my studio to the workshop of an alchemist, who uses the fusion of various secret chemical procedures and mystical speculations in the quest to create the "master piece". "Vitriol" is an expression, which is often mistakenly associated with poison. However it hides a far greater truth as the letters of this word are the anagram expressing the convictions of the initiate, to wit: "Visita interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem" or "Explore thy inner entrails and thou shall discover the hidden stone".

 

CLAUDE MAURER
July 1, 2009