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Fri, Nov 18

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Xàbia

BREEZE | Ramon OTTING

I’d love to literally transfer nature’s behavior to canvas

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BREEZE | Ramon OTTING
BREEZE | Ramon OTTING

Time & Location

Nov 18, 2022, 8:00 PM GMT+1

Xàbia, Carrer Andrés Lambert, 2, 03730 Xàbia, Alicante, Spain

Otting’s work concentrates on building the wholeness to be found in nature. From low viewpoints and using terroir, soil or sand and seawater from the spot where he finds the inspiration, Otting shows us the beauty and wealth of form and colour in nature.

« I’d love to literally transfer nature’s behavior to canvas. To be able to paint like that is like almost merging with nature, even though there’s always some sense of shaping the image. But of course this is never attainable, this can only happen in nature. Sometimes you can also go too far, so you fall over, but that’s good too. You’re done then. In the end it’s all about the endeavor, because we can never really reach nature’s perfection. We’ll always be confronted with our shortcomings and insignificance. But it’s in front of us humans in the perseverance, in the road to the goal. Even though essentially you’re not, or only hardly, doing anything new. »

Born in Vinkeveen, The Netherlands, in 1969. Went to the school for graphic design after high school and has been drawing and painting since he was 12 years old. First tutored by a painter and later supported by his education at the school for graphic design and the HKU (Academy of Fine Arts, Utrecht).

The sea forgets nothing

You can say, with sailor-writer Joseph Conrad, that the ocean has "no compassion, no loyalty, no laws, no memory," "as if it were too big and mighty for mundane virtues."  You can also say that the sea is a little less mighty and big these days.  Her physical power may never be tame, but what about her life force?  Now that the realization is dawning that the sea can make or break us, this is more than a topical question: it is an existential one.  And the sea forgets nothing.

Humans have always lived with the idea that the ocean is so big that you can easily throw in everything you want to get rid of, and at the same time you can keep getting as much out of it as you want.  Our ambiguous relationship with the sea: source of beauty, food, comfort, fatal temptation, a destructive force but nevertheless vulnerable itself.  The idea that our scorpion-like ancestors 'created ashore' some 400 million years ago, for example.  Or that there is little land that was never sea.  See the finds of fossil sea creatures deep inland, as far as the Himalayas.  Relics that evoke in the mind's eye and ear the ghostly rows of waves and the roaring surf of the distant past.” 

And the idea that we don't just come from the sea, but are still 'of the sea', 'carrying the sea within us'  : in our cells with a mineral mixture very similar to that of seawater.  And, of course, that we begin our life as embryos in "the miniature ocean of the womb" and there go through all the stages of evolution from "a water-dweller breathing through its gills into an animal that could live on land."  

Although man has completely forgotten that world 'in the depths of his subconscious [...]', that is perhaps the reason that he instinctively wants to return to the sea.  More than desire: desire back.  The sea as wet Paradise: "a garden to which we cannot return, though, for better or for worse, we have inherited the stewardship of that garden."  

And what is the attraction of the sea?  To the swimmers who go into the sea all year round, to the surfers, small fishermen, freedivers who dive with flippers but without air bottles for minutes and tens of meters deep, to the rowers, to beachcombers, to the man who goes into the waves to paint the sea and to the man who makes the most wonderful drawings in the sand before the flood erases them.  

The answers vary: surrender, being absorbed into something greater;  the danger, just look the beast in the mouth;  silent wonder at coral and swaying weed;  a utter test of your body;  that one light;  find an object on the beach that connects you to the past and another part of the world;  comfort after illness or death.  The sea, in all its fickle changeability, is a constant reminder that there is little that is in your control, and that realization alone is liberating.  

Whoever goes into the sea stops the clock for a while and when you come back, you are changed, refreshed, renewed.

 Rachel Carson

 Wyl Menmuir

 Hans Steketee

 Joseph Conrad

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