Hi everyone. I am Nicoleta.
This is my first contribution to our project with Jukiko (Yukiko) and Kazuo, specially the response to Kazuo’s work: “The time exists”.
First I would like to say that I feel privileged to be a part of this project as I feel it is something personal, natural and playful. Good conditions for artwork, in my opinion!
I do not know the Japanese language or its letters, but I believe that calligraphy and art can generally communicate in a very precise way. When I saw the first image, my impression of Kazuo’s work gave me a very unusual and specific feeling connected to a memory from my childhood:
I was once walking through the garden, a place I liked to be in because I could be quiet and alone. The silent fog lay between naked trees. It was an autumn day, during the twilight hour. I was crushing the fallen leaves beneath my shoes and finding walnuts. I pulled nutshells out of their rotten peels, the walnuts moist and cold in the palm of my hand. Finding walnuts brings me joy.
The thought of death suddenly flashed through my mind — I realized that all my relatives, my parents; everyone I know will one day die. I stood there, in the misty dusk with black fingers from walnut peels, and could not understand such a world. I was just a small child. The thought of eternity was much more natural for me.
This was my first impression of the picture. I had known that the title was “Time Exists” and afterwards Jukiko sent me a passage of Ecclesiastes 3 from the Bible in a Japanese/English translation. I read it first in English, as sometimes English is clearer than my mother tongue, but this was not the case. I wanted to know what was exactly written there and so I found a Czech translation online.
Honestly, I do not know the Bible very well as I am not a Christian. They baptized me and nobody asked me if I wanted it; I was just born. I do not worship any god. However, the culture I grew up in is Christian, so I must be a Christian in some way— a paradox. Anyway, I read Ecclesiastes 3 very, very carefully.
I felt an old wisdom from mankind coming from these words. At the time, I had been writing a story of a special dimension of a human’s life which remains singular and timeless, yet people from different ages still show the same knowledge, feelings and experience of the truth. I was impressed by the text from the Bible as it fit into my present. There was a particular verse (3-11) that resonated with me: eternity and man. Furthermore, I realized that the English version of the text was slightly different from the Czech versions. Consequently I found many versions of that sentence and saw how relentless time flows between holy words and all suffer distortion. The meaning and the shape of the words slightly changed from their original meaning. The letters and writing symbolize the intention of man attempting to catch and freeze the truth. Letters represent the idea of an eternal quality which is unique, singular and never changing, but it is impossible to hold control with human hands. In the material world, change is the core of being. The possibility of change is the substance of free will.
However, words represent only part of our reality. In every written word belongs my personal meaning, unique content which is only created in my brain, from my memory, and depending on my senses and experience I encountered.
I read the Bible verse again.
I saw behind the lines my scientific heroes. First, Kurt Gödel: a logician and philosopher, who described the boundaries of human knowledge. Then I thought of Albert Einstein and the general theory of relativity where the present has no meaning. I deliberated on my perception on time. I definitely cannot divide my life simply into past, present and future. Grammar is insufficient. A mother tongue is insufficient. Currently, I often recognize the moment which I remember as a future. I say to my husband: Now it is here…It is a future…I remember it from the past…
Gödel’s theory, Einstein’s theory, my new book, my peculiar experience with time from daily life, my childhood memory of death, calligraphy and language — everything was possible to find within Ecclesiastes 3.
This is common phenomena for a scientist. When you study a concept deeply, you can find it in every movement around you and in every line— it is the law. It does not mean it’s the truth, automatically. I had some doubts about whether I would be able to work with text from the Bible without prejudice.
Then, I went on holiday to an abandoned place on the island of Cres. The energy of that place which looks like a paradise is unexpectedly raw. In pure nature, at the sea, I spent a lot of time with Mahler’s 7th symphony. I read the Bible verses again, mostly in the night.
Suddenly, I had a dream. It was one of the most powerful dreams I have ever had. It was horrible, crazy and harmful. I woke up scared, ten minutes past five in the morning. I felt it in my veins and in my bones that everything I had experienced was real.
What I dreamt is private.The title of the dream in my pillow book is: “God’s tears”.
I knew immediately that I was positively on the right path.
That is all I can say about the pictures. My fingers are black again, because of ink this time. I stay alone in the mist 90% of my life. I feel like an observer, who is watching how the light and the darkness alternate; but the core lies beyond. I suffer sometimes but it is not important. This state is inevitable. You can neglect it when you expect it to happen and focus on your work. Because the new is always horrible.
This picture is in German. When I do a calligraphy just for me I use German usually. The text is from Nietzsche’s book “Thus spoke Zarathustra”, prologue 6. “..there is no devil and no hell… Therefore, fear nothing more.”
The text (Czech) is mostly from Ecclesiastes 3. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
©Nikola Klanicová, 2018