This came about during my illness, as was frequently the case, whilst listening to music. It was during a less bad phase of the illness but I was still a long way from being finally better. In fact, shortly after this I had another slump; possibly the worst one.
Scrolling through some old songs I listened to 14 Black Paintings by Peter Gabriel. It is a song I like but hadn’t listened to for a while. Very short simple lyrics.
From the pain come the dream
From the dream come the vision
From the vision come the people
From the people come the power
From this power come the change
Gabriel gave the song this title of being taken to see an installation of 14 black paintings by Mark Rothko at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. Rothko never saw the completion of this chapel as he committed suicide. He took a drug overdose and also sliced his arm with a razor. For obvious reasons something I identified with. Goya also did a series of 14 black paintings based on a fear of insanity and a bleak outlook on life.
In the work I had been doing with my psychologist we had talked about becoming more active and constructive and doing things I had previously enjoyed. And so, the idea of getting out and doing my own 14 black photographs was born. i was restricted to a degree as travelling far from home was still difficult for me. Had I been able to travel further it may well have been a different set of pictures. The photography and manipulation are not brilliant but it was what it was at the time. Each of the pictures has a significance and “black” theme for me. I’m not going to give an explanation of each picture. It would be revealing of me, which is not a problem, but some also revealing of an other person who I am coming to realise, I have done a disservice to at times.And the theme was what was black to me at that time. It does not follow that all of them are now.
The themes are of darkness which is very much where I was at the time. Darkness being a lot of things; pain, loss, bewilderment and so many things I can’t define. Maybe some of us need to spend some time in darkness to fully understand life and ourselves. But you can’t stay there. You must find a way towards the light.The pictures themselves bear no relation to the original 14 black paintings series.
Low res versions of the pictures linked below. Click to open.