Erasing Time

From the series: Erasing Time (2018), Marcel Moonen©

This text was written by a 20th century artist Hansegger.*
* In honour of. Adapatation by M.

In my twentieth year I proudly rented my first artist`s atelier (studio).

As soon as I had finished a few works, I asked a few friends and acquaintances to give me some addresses of possible art buyers. Always towards the end of the month, the selling of some work to pay the rent and living expenses repeated itself. It was a most humiliating experience.

“Are you not ashamed to steal God’s day away without doing any serious work? Painting little pictures and not working at all. If you want to paint, use the big brush for house walls, inside or outside, and earn an honest living.”

That was the usual rough answer when I asked for a modest price for my artwork.

Holding in one hand my big artist’s hat, in the other a package of pictures; please let me show you some of these works!

“We have our attic full of useless pictures, so go away and do not show your face again, you lazy guy.”

Then I became more careful in selecting educated people; teachers, doctors, architects, lawyers, people who already owned some originals. I showed them my products and sold them at moderate prices.

Meanwhile, I studied art history in the public libraries, changed every few months my method and style, and learned at least all the modes and rules of the artist`s trade. I went to museums, studied, and sketched the old masters, the painters of the Barbizon School, the Impressionists, the Expressionists, then I arrived at Cubism and took the opportunity to go to Paris, Mecca of the Arts, to study on the spot.

I met the great painters, one after the other, showed them my deep respect and gratefulness for every suggestion and help. Mostly they gave me real brotherly assistance.

From the series: Erasing Time(2018), Marcel Moonen©

One evening a painter friend told me that his patron, a Mr. Bruderer, had seen my most recent works and expressed the wish to meet the artist. He invited me to one of the fine restaurants in town and afterwards I suggested that we visit my studio.

He looked long and attentively at all my studies and completed works and said:

“My dear friend, for many years I have had a vision of a certain image. Observing your great color sense over the past years, I think you could fulfil my heart`s desire for this imagined work in my mind.”

He made a long pause and then continued: “It seems to me it is the simplest thing of a painting, but for so many years I went to all the great shows of the modern schools all over the world in search of this work.”

“Please, what is it?” I nervously interrupted.

From the series: Erasing Time(2018), Marcel Moonen©

Mr. B.: “I wish for a painting that has only two to three color spots, but in such a fitting harmony and beauty of color selection - that my eyes - when seeing it, would feel great happiness, a fulfilment.

It must not have any construction.
No motive whatsoever,  no images,
just two to three color spots well organized.”

Perhaps it is the hardest thing to ask an artist, but if you could give me that, I will be your patron.

Jubilantly I answered: “How wonderful this challenge is for me. I live by colours’ beauty, what better assignment could there be.”

In my enthusiasm I embraced him like a long-missed brother.

Mr. B.: “Don’t be too sure; perhaps it is more difficult than you realize!”

I  responded:  “Nothing is easier, because my whole heart is in it already!” And so we departed.

The same night, with a daylight lamp, I started. First, I lined up about ten canvases; 12 x 16, 18 x 21, 20 x 24 inches and some 24 x 30 inches. Boy, oh boy!

I worked the whole night, then the following eight days, twelve hours by daylight, five to six hours by nightlight. I could not eat anymore; nothing satisfied me really. I had to take two days 24 hours sleep, as I was completely exhausted, but then I started again, using beautiful flower examples as inspiration. Sometimes one color was beautiful but disturbed the other.

I was honest enough to finally admit my failure. Completely exhausted, I gave up and called my new patron to the studio, trembling in mind and body. When he arrived, he sat down, looked at the pictures, one after the other, and did not speak at all.

“Oh Mother Earth, open yourself and swallow me up.”

The silence was broken, and he said.: “I see you worked really hard, but you yourself are not looking happy, and I am not satisfied with any of them.

I am deeply sorry to have burdened you with this perhaps most difficult task. Anyhow, I want to do something for you. I know of your drawing talent; Can you make a portrait of my girlfriend in red crayon? (which is very difficult because you cannot erase any wrong line — it would leave a red smear).

Since I was good at drawing, I gladly accepted the order. For the trouble and material used he paid me some money in advance, for that day when I will get the three color spots to his satisfaction.

What a noble man! Living amid all the trivial men of that city.

From the series: Erasing Time (2018), Marcel Moonen©

A year later I left that place for good, travelled through foreign lands around the world, had good days and bad, some successes also, but always in search of that great secret — the color harmony.

After over fifty years of a busy artist`s life, one day a bad heart attack struck me down and kept me in intensive care at the hospital. I was seeking sleep and rest, thinking nothing more. On the fourteenth day, early in the morning, half awake, before my eyes appeared a series of pictures like a vision with only one color, but on three or four different paintings, each having only one single color, and this color had a tremendous vibration which hit my heart with a strong power, a healing power.

The color seemed to dribble into the centre of my heart, and I knew suddenly the same second that was what the art patron Mr. Bruderer had asked me to create fifty years earlier.

From the series: Erasing Time (2018), Marcel Moonen©

At once I took a pen and paper and wrote to a mutual friend in the old hometown and asked him to send me the address of my former patron, which I had lost in all my travels.

One month later my friend, the painter, informed me carefully that the art patron Mr. Bruderer had passed on thirty years ago.

I could hardly speak for weeks, so deep was my grief. How much I would have enjoyed his happiness about my late and delayed finding of the colors deep secret, to be able to share with him this great happening.

The included paintings reproduced in this essay are only a poor substitute of the original paintings with their real magic radiation and rays.

“Come and see the originals!”

Erasing Time (re- titled) “A BELATED REVELATION” from an unread manifesto by the artist Hansegger©, images M. 1978, re-published 06.2021  [EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY] Triple-A Society, M. Production