Conversation with Mr. Hugo REINHARD
Honorary Chairman A.M.V.B. Brussels
Vice President Paleis V.Z.W.
Topic: Conversation with SCRIVO
What do you paint?
I paint the way I am. What I paint comes from my inside. My most intimate feelings, convictions, revolts and fears I spit out as it were on the canvas as a liberation of myself with a question towards the spectator. Each painting is a pure self-portrait, without the least makeup, without posing and where one can see clearly my way of being. My battlefield, the canvas where I raise a fusillade of colors is the confessional for what I want to communicate.
Are there influences?
Inevitably and happily! I knew dozens of painters. Some I have admired because of their art and others for their way of being. The influence of others is so explosive that it awakens the secret affinities and makes that the sensitive powers of our being manifest themselves. The whole universe renews itself through the influence of one element to another and through the combination of elements. The same happens in the interior universe of the artist. The mix of influences from the outside with the own being makes exist an emotional power that is needed for the expression.
Do you feel like an artist and do you make art?
The motivation comes from what we feel. Art changes permanently because there are different motivations. Artists don't have to occupy themselves with changing art because art already changes by itself through the interior process of the artist.
Each artist must defend his own truth, which he can't impose on anyone. I'm Scrivo and I make my art, my truth. Every one can look at it from free will and think about it, write and say whatever he wants. Everything that I say, write or paint is my personal opinion that I don't want to impose at any time to others or proclaim as the truth. It is my truth in the way my paintings are my art.
I've noticed that you listen while painting to the music of Vivaldi. Why Vivaldi?
I love classical music very much and especially Vivaldi. When I start to paint I hear 'The spring' of Vivaldi on the background.The spring is the new life, the new beginning full of expectations. The start of a new cycle full of hope.
Is this important to you? How long do you paint and why exactly is 'the Spring' of Vivaldi so important?
For me it is very important. When I hear the spring of Vivaldi, I'm in the right mood to work. I made my first drawings and paintings in the attic of my parents' house in St-Lievens-Houtem, from where I originate, when I was 12.
I chose the Spring of Vivaldi because this theme fits with my way of thinking and working.
What do you mean?
Look. When I was about 16 years old, I asked myself many questions about life. I was raised a Catholic, like most people from here from that time. I went to a Catholic school but I could nowhere find a satisfying answer to the many questions that I posed myself. Everything was so vague and abstract and I could impossibly reconcile myself with the answers that I was given.
I then decided for myself that I would respect the opinion of others and solve my problems on my own. My principle was and still is: do what you want but don't infringe on others. On that age I also abandoned the parental house and I went into the wide world. I had an old suitcase, a pullover with a hole in it and a note of 20 francs that I had gotten from my mother.
Does this has to do anything with the fact that you have become an artist?
When did you do your first exposition?
Well, for me a great deal! Like others who have a problem, write certain things down, I tried to capture the questions of life, which I was painting away from me. In the beginning I painted only round spots because I observed that in nature everything is round. The earth, the sun, the moon, the other planets, the universe, the fruits, everything. This I found a clear given, it was clear en obvious and it was like that. Nothing was square, or rectangeled or just angeled. So I painted spots!
I did my first exposition in the Gardens of Annevoie in 1960. The theme was: 'Paintings of 1 day'. It were roses that I glued onto panels. In the morning still beautifully colored, in the evening wilted.
Where your parents artists too?
No, my mother took care of the household and was always very concerned about me. My father was a workingman, a true man of the people, who was known to everyone in the community. He was a kind of philosopher with an incredible wisdom. He often told me: the most beautiful gift one can get is life. This is your life, do with it what you want and make the best out of it.
Have you exhibited other things in that time?
Yes. In the winter of 1960 I exposed in the Hotel Univers in Brussels. I also was a dishwasher, I was 18 years old then. I have also exposed a few months every day on the Pont Neuf in Paris. I was street painter there in 1961.
How did you come to paint exclusively lines in the last 10 years? There is a big difference between lines and spots!
For me religion and art are very closely connected. Through the questions that I have asked myself about religion, I started to paint. For me a lot - not to say everything - in life has to do with believing of not believing.
How do you mean?
In my way of thinking believing is hoping that there was a beginning (Creation), and that there is an eternity or better said an infinity. Not believing is accepting that there is no beginning and no ending.
So if I understand it well you represent it fairly simple and the question is - does or doesn't one believe in the Creator God. Can you describe and clarify your position?
I'll try. But first I want to repeat that this is only my point of view and that I certainly don't want to harm no-one who thinks differently. I also proclaim this not as 'the truth' but only as my personal way of thinking. During centuries the story of the creation has been proclaimed. The Creator - God, that abstract given, that is nothing or everything.
When, on a certain moment, the scientists declared that our world and our universe originates from the Big Bang, the preachers of the belief didn't panic. For them the Big Bang could also be the creation. There was no problem actually. There was still a beginning and no end.
Indeed, by this Big Bang the world and the universe originated. One can call this Big Bang the Creation as well. Where lies the problem according to you?
Well, with the knowledge that we have today about the universe, we know that this Big Bang did happen and where our universe has sprung from, but this universe is only a very small part of the multiverse. In the infinite multiverse there are durable Big Bangs. There always originate new universes in the multiverse that has no beginning and no end. Each universe, originated from this, has each a beginning and an end in the infinite multiverse.
So you put that outside of the universe there are countless other universes that start at a certain time and also end at a certain time.
Indeed. It are cycles with each time a beginning and an end in the multiverse that has no beginning and no end.
As you see it that way, does live has a purpose?
For me the only goal in life is to reproduce. Each time cycles with a beginning and an ending. Everything restarts again each time.
But what has this to do with painting? And if it has anything to do with it for you, why do you exclusively paint lines in the last years?
Well, in painting it is actually almost the same story. Luckily painting is no exact science, but still more exact than religion and it is somewhat easier to adapt the norms from the past or to substitute to the norms of today. In painting the religious images from the past have disappeared and the Big Bang by the discovery of photography meant not the end of painting but it was a new beginning.
I can understand that but what has it to do with lines?
Well, this Big Bang (photography) makes an end to a period where during centuries craftsmen (artists) created their 'masterpieces', with the help of mirrors, camera obscura and other aids. They had by means of lines outlined color-surfaces to arrive to a visual image. A visual image that in fact meant nothing because it didn't exist. It was only an image of something that was formed by lines. With the discovery of photography they had no more reason for existence. Their cycle was finished.
With the impressionism a new cycle of different artists started, searchers for different ways of expression. Later came the fauvists, cubists, expressionists, etc... All periods with a beginning and an ending in that infinite art of painting.
I understand, but could you return to the lines that you paint. Could you try to clarify that more?
Well, for a painter to express himself he needs a canvas, paint, brushes and his gestuality (or a carrier, matter, and a means of applying this matter). The lines that form the surfaces on the canvas are the essential characteristics of painting. The lines are the most important because without lines there are no surfaces. The line in itself doesn't exist. She only becomes a line as she outlines something. The line is the Creator in the art of painting. It Creates. But that something that she outlines is only an image of something. In fact it is nothing.
Painting that line without that it outlines something is very important for me. I extract the line from her previous existence and bring it to life by the speed and force with which I paint it and the energy that I put in it. I make it exist on it's own without it meaning nothing more than the line but because of what she exists as a line. Make it exist without depending on something else. On this moment I paint the line, and only the line, the creator, the god in painting, the nothing that is everything. I want to place this god on a throne before the canvas. Painting is for me a way of believing. Knowing that everything always starts again and continuing believing in that creator, that god, the line in painting, not to make paintings in the past or the future but paintings without a beginning and without an end, which will always be contemporary.