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2016 Competition entry

Cecilia Maartens-Van Vuuren

Not Signed
Oil on wood
120 cm x 160 cm


This artwork is about the conscious flowing of time through memory, based on Henri Bergson’s concept of duréé réélle (real time/time in the mind). Bergson regards memory as the means by which the past merges into the present and the present flows into the future, thus making experience a continuum. 

Reading the quest of Qoheleth in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (the author of Ecclesiastes is said to be the teacher of wisdom, Qoheleth), for something of true value in this life, the artist realised that her fairly ordinary life on earth has been a labyrinthine journey saturated with events that impacted on her in various ways .

One of the events that impacted the artist's life was the freedom to spend time in the comfort of a beloved fig tree from her childhood. In this artwork the artist visually shares with the viewer her recollection of the inner experience during that time. The luminous and colourful figs are juxtaposed with chromatic greys and the rhizomatic (sometimes labyrinthine) pathways of the abstracted bark of the wild fig tree, creating tension which resonates contrasting emotions while wrestling with our thoughts.

Prints of the artist’s as well as children’s hands are visible making the artwork a very personal experience, and alludes the viewer to happenstances below the surface. Our interconnectedness with our environment and others in a social context, as well as the awe of life filled with vitality, creativity and spiritual growth, but also the experience of pain, suffering and disparaging emotions, are depicted in this artwork.

The title of the work, Decalcomania, refers to one of the characteristics of a rhizome to create a new pathway that happened ‘per chance’: exploring this artwork, focusing on selected areas, new images may be discovered through the imagination of the viewer.