Living in Honduras and Guatemala is sometimes hard, mostly fun but never boring. Here some of my musings on life in this colourful part of the world where you can always expect the unexpected. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Monday, February 20, 2012

In the beginning there was fire

 I love it when a solution presents itself in my dreams…

In 2006 I made this painting /collage for an exhibition we had in our gallery at the time, in Copán Ruinas. The canvas measures 135 x 135cm and consists of a thick layer of Honduran and Guatemalan newspaper, paint, photos and writing. The texts are from the Popol Vuh (the creation of the world) and several other Latin American novels and poems (by Gabriel García Márquez, Eduardo Galeano, Rubén Darío and others), all having to do with the creation of the world or the power of fire as an element of development as well as a destructive power. The work is a collaboration between Ronald Reinds, Lise Winters and me. Lise provided the photos of a bonfire in an indigenous community in Guatemala. Just below the middle of the right half, I left open a white rectangle on which Ronald projected his short 8mm film of himself reading a newspaper that burst into flames. We presented the work as an installation during the inauguration, with a mural of flames painted on the wall behind it and embers, ashes and burned paper underneath it.

When the exhibition made room for a new one, the painting ended up in my office. I never even tried to sell it because it is awkwardly big and heavy and besides, without Ronald’s projection, there was this graceless white rectangle on the right. For years I planned to “finish” the work, but never came up with the right solution. Once I thought of filling the space up with an assemblage of burned embers and cinders. I went out of the way to find pieces of the right size of burnt wood, but for some reason never got around to glue them on. 

A few days ago, the work appeared in my dream among many other completely inexplicable images. In my dream it was completely finished... The white of the rectangle was now black, and on it was a Maya glyph representing fire painted in bright yellow, orange and reds.


So, six years after creating this work, I finally finished it. It turned out exactly the way it looked like in my dream…

Ronald Reinds: 
Lise Winters

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