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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

do you see me?

The hardest battle: defining the self and what we do. Still, e.e. cummings said that this is also the good battle, and one which we will need to keep on fighting.

In the past three months, I felt a definite shift within me and my practice. One that is not coming without pain and anger; that anger which stems from the fear of not being understood and hence accepted. During this phase of transition, I am pushing people away, I am finding ways to excuse my behaviour, and potentially I am avoiding the real pain.

But at the same time, I believe I am courageous in the exploration of my mark-making. I am pushing creative and emotional boundaries. I play and feel anxiety; I am scared and still show up every day.

Because this is who I am. I am not a painter, I am not a designer, I am not a sculptor. I am flowing. A flow-er.

I am me. My name is Matilde. And this is what I do.

Especially, I am tired of creative compromises. I have realised today, during a 1:1 and subsequentially with my supervisor, that I wrote my artistic manifesto some three years ago in my story "The Elegance of the Equation" [in full here] but I will be using this space here to define my practice and take that manifesto a bit further, albeit still in an embryonic and ever-changing state.


I am an artist because I make art.

Making art makes who I am.

I am interested in how marks or letters are linked together, the pitch and fall of the stroke.

The balance between void and full, the distance between words and signs, their privacy: do they feel (the words and signs, I mean) their boundaries pushed? I am absorbed by the noise of the nib, a tenuous scratching at ivory paper. Scratching and revealing by adding ink and subtracting fibres. I substitute what’s already there with something new. I am ploughing and seeding. I replace emptiness and at the same time expose one of the infinite possible combinations of signs and marks, all-present but hidden in a page. What’s the nib doing in me? Sometimes I wonder if the line I’m creating is three dimensional, or not. Could we magnify it, its own breadth would appear. Somehow, I think that my writing and mark-making, control and therefore codify my idea of Beauty. I am in the act of making my own world a better place. It gives a sense of order, balance. It makes things simpler. There’s no Xάος on my pages and on my paper.

Filling that space, to me, is never pointless. It is a quest for the perfect conjunction between an ideal pen, faultless paper, the moment; and me. I am mesmerized by the ease of the sign, the sliding of the pen, the weight of my wrist, the length of my nails on the barrel; the impeccable blend of voluptuousness and angst. A sensuous ritual.

It’s not writing, it’s not drawing. It’s flowing. It’s continuity.

I am wondering if a person reading my writing or looking at my drawings, would feel the exact same emotions as I feel when I write or draw. Impossible, and frustrating. Do you see me? Sometimes I question if it is more my experience that’s important: me as a maker. Actually, me as I am creating. I am creating. Creating. Create-ing. In the moment. No matter how hard we try to communicate, our minds will keep on seeing the world as we have always seen it, through our eyes only. That’s our reference, our own code: us. You see, there is no such thing as true communication.

This is the algorithm of life, where all things important are not to be printed but are hidden and can be read between the lines and seen between the signs.

Putting nib to paper is important because I’m alive; my act proves that I breathe, that I was there then. Do you see me? That line I scribbled yesterday shows that I exist. If someone is going to read it, or just look at it, part of me is seen. My encounter with the page is set in time, even if we both have a life beyond that moment. The page has a life on its own, independent: a well-rounded blue morphing into a deep oceanic green, pencil greys, darker graphite, intense Chinese black. Everchanging albeit unseen, almost cheeky, surprising me every day with a different hue. And what about me? My act of creating is more important than the creation itself.

What kind of a sign do I leave behind? I am thinking accessibility, simplification, subtracting synthesis, codification, macro-expansion.

And then, reducing to a dot. You can have a whole drawing, a whole poem in a single dot.

© mtomat 2019 - written on 12.11.19 - no reproduction without permission.

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