Paradise Machine

Updated: May 1, 2020

I had to think about Samuel Beckett's wonderful quote: "never tried, never failed, no matter... try again fail again fail better". I think this wise formula comes close to the hallmark of any creative endeavor. When you think only about getting results it's essential to build in disdain for the failure or at least a certain maybe unconscious fear for the numerous roads to non-fulfillment. However when you are focused on the joy of making things you are free and in a sense untouchable. On deeper level Beckett seem to acknowledge here that any attempt inherently ends up in failure. The committed follower of my studio life might remember my enthusiastic references to William Turner when I just finished the backdrop for my Paradise Machine. The disappointment came later when I pasted this sweet paint work at the back of the vitrine.

The picnic itself looks quite successful indeed, echoing an atmosphere of children's books, villages, vicars, foxes, forests and streams. The huge picnic basket, the spread blanket with it's pastels under the old tree, the treats they brought. It's quite impossible to match this lovely abundance with the grim reality of the current corona lock-down with park benches taped with warning signs and police patrols and fines. Maybe after careful observation we notice even the flipped over milk jar suggesting recreants who possibly jumped up and left the scene in a panic. So far everything is fine, but when I activated the mechanism, I guess the main reason why I made the piece, some barely visible greens started swinging deep into the dark background, at that exact moment I knew I had to fail better! For a few days the whole idea of an animated scene seemed as distant as the snowy mountain summit in the background of an Alp painting, damn! Who could have thought that a 17.5 X 45.5 X 0.4 cm Plexiglas sheet could light the machine up so to speak, making it into a vibrant paludarium-like object ripped from an old fashioned zoo or botanic garden. In one word a Paradise Machine.