‘The relationship between man and space is none other than dwelling, strictly thought and spoken’ (Heidegger, 2013, p.155).
This body of work explores the theme of dwelling according to Heidegger’s concept of the Fourfold. Heidegger (2013) traces the root of the fundamental meaning of the word to the Old English and High German word – ‘buan’. This means to dwell, implying to remain- to stay but is also tied with notions of protecting, cherishing, caring, preserving and cultivating, and through the notion of the fourfold we do this within the concepts of earth, sky, divinities and mortals. Such is a reminder that in order to live we must dwell, as opposed to merely inhabiting a place, and thus purely existing. Dwelling also implies spending time, staying with things and the process itself of producing these artworks allowed for this. The lengthy, physically tiring process of carving and hand printing slows down from the fast pace of life allowing oneself to dwell within the inner self. The intricate carvings echo the character of crevices, the nooks and crooks which Bachelard (1994) describes as the spaces where memories dwell. In this manner, the art work becomes the dwelling place, preserving the lived experience of the artist’s self. As with dwelling, living through the physical making of the art work and thinking become inseparable.
An essential component of dwelling is Heiddeger’s concept of Geviert – the Fourfold. To dwell is to belong within the fourfold, that is made up of sky and earth, mortals and divinities. The fourfold cannot be divided into its individual units, but rather each component can really exist in relation to the others. In other words ‘each of the four terms mirrors all the others simultaneously’ (Graham, 2007, p. 132).Therefore Heidegger claims that a man is not an isolated being in the world but part of the fourfold of the earth and sky, divinities and mortals. When one dwells, s/he is doing so in relation to the concepts within the fourfold.
These works, consisting of eight woodcut prints are a personal interpretation of the Fourfold, capturing the mood rather than a literal translation. They are distinct entities and yet concurring with the spirit of the fourfold, they mirror one another, unified by their organic nature. The monochromatic colour scheme gives precedence to the graphical form, whilst the red accents work towards further creating a dialogue between the works. Each image works in a singular manner but also leads to another, creating a continuous loop in the conversation between earth, sky, divinities and mortals. This mirrors the aspect that dwelling is in a constant state of flux, it is not a static affair but rather an organic one, morphing and changing within itself.
Bachelard, G. (1994)The Poetics of Space, Boston: Beacon Press
Harman, G ( 2007) Heidegger Explained, From Phenomenon to Thing. Open Court
Heidegger, M (2013) Poetry, Language, Thought. Harper Perennial
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