Void

Agrobotiga, 2016, Acrylics on plastic bag (photo by Juan Cañizares).

Agrobotiga, 2016, Acrylics on plastic bag (photo by Juan Cañizares).

Petit sac, 2016, acrylics on plastic bag.

Petit sac, 2016, acrylics on plastic bag.

Bolsa, 2016, acrylics on plastic bag.

Bolsa, 2016, acrylics on plastic bag.

Reality

Expectations

"MARIA GIL ULLDEMOLINS is a smart, confident young woman. She has one degree from Britain and is about to conclude another in her native Spain. And she feels that she has no future.

Ms Ulldemolins belongs to a generation of young Spaniards who feel that the implicit contract they accepted with their country—work hard, and you can have a better life than your parents—has been broken. Before the financial crisis Spanish unemployment, a perennial problem, was pushed down by credit-fuelled growth and a prolonged construction boom: in 2007 it was just 8%. Today it is 21.2%, and among the young a staggering 46.2%. “I trained for a world that doesn't exist,” says Ms Ulldemolins.

Spain's figures are particularly horrendous. But youth unemployment is rising perniciously across much of the developed world.(...) One in five under-25s in the European Union labour force is unemployed, with the figures particularly dire in the south. In America just over 18% of under-25s are jobless; young blacks, who make up 15% of the cohort, suffer a rate of 31%, rising to 44% among those without a high-school diploma (the figure for whites is 24%) (...)." (2)

"The term wabi-sabi suggests such qualities as impermanence, humility, asymmetry, and imperfection. These underlying principles are diametrically opposed to those of their Western counterparts, whose values are rooted in the Hellenic worldview that values permanence, grandeur, symmetry, and perfection.

Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.(...)

Wabi-sabi, as a tool for contemplation and a philosophy of life, may now have an unforeseen relevance as an antidote to the rampant unraveling of the very social fabric which has held [us] together for so long. Its tenets of modesty and simplicity encourage a disciplined unity while discouraging overindulgence in the physical world. It gently promotes a life of quiet contemplation and a gentle aesthetic principle that underscores a meditative approach."(3)


Big Black Sigh, 2016, gesso, latex.

Big Black Sigh, 2016, gesso, latex.

Detail.

Detail.

Sigh, 2016, Gesso, latex.

Sigh, 2016, Gesso, latex.


Three klein Blue Inhale-Exhale, 2016, Latex, agrylics, pgiment.

Three klein Blue Inhale-Exhale, 2016, Latex, agrylics, pgiment.

Breathworks

“There is certainly a component of sighing that relates to an emotional state. When you are stressed, for example, you sigh more,” said Feldman. “It may be that neurons in the brain areas that process emotion are triggering the release of the sigh neuropeptides – but we don’t know that.”(4)

"When we practice zazen our mind always follows our breathing. When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say 'inner world' or 'outer world,' but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, 'I breathe,' the 'I' is extra. There is no you to say 'I.' What we call 'I' is just a swinging door which moves when we inhales and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no 'I,' no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door."(5)


Work in progress. Photos by Juan Cañizares and Manuel Manrique Gil.

Work in progress. Photos by Juan Cañizares and Manuel Manrique Gil.

This is an ongoing series. Not all pieces are represented on this page.


  1. Yoon, Jungu. Spirituality in Contemporary Art, 2015, Zidane Press, p. 59
  2. http://www.economist.com/node/21528614
  3. http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/wabi-sabi-understanding-this-term-could-change-your-way-of-relating-to-the-world/
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/08/a-sighs-not-just-a-sigh-its-a-fundamental-life-sustaining-reflex
  5. Suzuki, Shunryu .Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice