This is a big question and I don’t want to be on philosophical explanations even if my first idea to work with space and the spacelessness came with reading Immanuel Kant. This German philosopher of the eighteenth century wrote a book with the title The Critique of the Pure Reason in which he defines the reason and the faculties of reason. He systematically breaks down conditions, categories, judgment, and experience of thinking.
In his complex theory, Kant defines space as not independent from our being and as knowledge a priori. Meaning, the knowledge we have before any experiences – as in our case – space. Another point of his theory about space is, that our mind needs the category of space in order to think.
What intrigued me, was the idea that there could be a state of being without space. An awareness, a consciousness without space.
What kind of reality could this be then? Not a basic question in Western culture, if not for physicists.
In cultures of the East, the idea of a different concept of thinking is much more present, as it is, for example, in Taoism or Buddhism. Anyhow, it’s part of the human drive to explore the space without space, or at least, to investigate the diverse dimension space can have.
Like scientists, visual artists are questioning the reality of space. Their work process and works are spatial. Not only, artworks are related to space, they are space. And, even more, artworks represent ideas and concepts of space.
That seems so obvious, but from sculpture to an abstract color-field painting, the struggle of the artist with space by creating a new space is elementary to artworks. The artists use space to create an imaginary space which generates tensions, a conflict. And the important point is, that this conflict, this tension, between the real space and the imaginary space, continues in the viewer of artworks and he or she is the one to find a conclusion, or never find any, which is even better.
In other words, artworks open a completely different space during the process of creation and perception as they generate these “gaps” I talked about in the last episode and which I call non-space. These gaps are a sense of the spacelessness in which something new can take place: an idea, a concept, an awareness. And after this art-experience, the world is not the same anymore.
In understanding the space, which art creates and opens up, it’s obvious that we need art to live and that art guarantees freedom: The being can take place in the non-place of the artworks.