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  • filipvk


Updated: Sep 21, 2023

A STATEMENT OF INTENTION (originally posted on Facebook on August 3, 2020)

Some decisions take time.

The decision I have come to now has taken me more than one and a half years to make... but it is not an easy step to abandon the path that has been my passion for 35 years.

After many months of soul-searching, and after a lot of reflection on the present situation in the world (reflection very much facilitated by the lockdown), I have decided to stop painting, in order fully dedicate all my attention to the enormous ecological - and by extension socio-economic, cultural and spiritual - challenges we are facing.

I will stop painting, at least for some years.

I don’t know if I can or want to do without painting forever. I suspect not.

But for now, I can not continue in my studio as before.

About one and a half years ago many large canvases stood ready, and all had been prepared for a new phase in my work.

After an intense period of exploring a new direction, six years of drawing and painting small scale, and after almost four years of organizing exhibitions with the artist collective WorkPlace, I felt ready to further define on large scale canvases all I had been exploring in those years.

But then something changed.

Partly as a result of certain events about which I will write more another time, I have experienced a thorough change of awareness, and the reality of the all-encompassing ecological disaster we are facing has struck me with much greater force.

I can no longer justify for myself to stay on the sidelines in these circumstances, and to go on investing all my time, energy and resources (apart from my family and my teaching assignment) in my painting studio, in my personal artistic path, in something that concerns myself most of all.

So I will try to contribute in my own way, however minimally.

I do not believe that all artists should make a similar choice, quite the contrary. The world needs art, now just as much as in any period of our history - or even more than ever.

But I feel that for me, a different path is necessary from now on, for the time being or indefinitely.

Ever since my childhood there has been an environmentalist of sorts ‘hiding’ inside me waiting for the right time to show up, and in my teenage years I have considered a life as an environmental activist.

I have never regretted my choice for art, and I have arrived at my present insights, ideas and feelings mostly through art. But I feel that a change of tools has become necessary for me now.

Where this new path will take me, I do not know yet.

I will first of all start a period of further research and explore different possibilities. I want to start up one or several blogs and am considering producing a photographic essay book. I am considering a series of journeys both at home and abroad (as climate-neutral as possible) to register and chart the ecological systemic crisis, as it is unfolding already.

An image can say more that a thousand words, and I would like to use photography -another lifelong passion of mine - to register aspects of the ecological crisis for a wider audience.

And of course I would like to get more and better information on what I myself can change in my personal behavior, in order to further align my life with that of our planet.

And this is not only a matter of climate change - we are facing a devastating crisis in the life of our biosphere, and now is the time to start doing something about it.

Our personal behavior can and must change, but individual choices alone won’t save us. Too many of the processes that will define our fate, depend on choices that need to be made on a national and international level.

But even so, what may be needed more than anything might be a change of heart in all of us.

We cannot rely on the power structures and belief systems that got us into this situation in the first place, to get us out again.

Not only are we being invited to change our personal and collective belief system and behavior to a great degree, we are faced with the challenge to develop no less than a new world view, a new story of connectedness. Because in the end, all the ecological crises and all the social and economic crises we are facing, are aspects of one and the same crisis: our crisis in consciousness, in our relationship to ourselves and our world.

I would like to help presenting a vivid and understandable view of where we are at from different perspectives, -and what our options might be - for a wider audience.

In order to do so I will first of all continue my own research - I feel that my knowledge of a variety of topics can and must grow, in order to offer something of value to the attempts at change that are underway all over the world.

I believe that idly sitting by and watching while our planet, our biosphere, our home and mother, is withering away in front of our eyes, is just not an option any longer for me.

I believe that providing the public at large with accurate information and visual records of our situation (and possible future), may be an important factor in the years to come, and I will try to contribute to that in my own way, using my own possibilities and resources as best I can.

I believe that information will be a very important tool in changing awareness about the ecological disaster. The more accurate information we have, the more likely we are to make different choices, and the more we will be enabled to create different belief-systems.

In this process I do not want to simply paint a doomsday picture.

Our odds do not look good right now, but the worldwide scientific community is still telling us that it is not too late yet, and that it is still possible to avoid a worst case scenario. But in order to do that we must really start acting, on an unprecedented scale.

One of the things the Corona crisis has taught us is that a common global action to avert a disaster is possible, on a planetary scale never seen before.

Let’s get started in order to save our home.


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