Thoughts & Insights

In Praise of the Freedom from Purpose

I can´t remember how some years ago I became involved in a conversation about freedom from purpose and intent with two very reflected and charming people. But even today I still have a very clear recollection of how our conversation went. It began when for some reason both of them claimed or adduced from some example that nothing that people do in this world is ever free from some kind of purpose.

I disagreed and cited the case of OUBEYs life and work as an authentic counterexample with which I had been intimately acquainted for more than twenty years. OUBEY had the extremely rare gift of simply doing things because he wanted to do them or sometimes simply had to do them without asking or even wanting to know what purpose they might serve. And this applies in every respect. Never before in my life had I met such a person until I met OUBEY and the variety of people I had met was pretty wide.

OUBEY did what interested him and gave him the most satisfaction without the slightest consideration for the public resonance it might produce. The only time that he exposed himself to such resonance during his first and only – highly successful – exhibition during his lifetime in 1992 remains a notable exception. And when, following the exhibition, he withdrew completely from the public eye to continue his creative work, his decision to do so was in favour of the freedom of purposeless creativity. What he wanted and needed to do was to exteriorise the complex pictures that formed in his mind. If ever there was a purpose for his artistic work then this is it. Only this seems not to be what we mean generally when we talk about “purpose”.

In the ever narrower confines of the art world, OUBEY kept this love of freedom from any kind of purpose until the last day of his life. This alone makes his legacy something very special in these times when above all else the purpose and goal of activity is to mark yourself out from the rising daily deluge of publically perceptible images in an effort to achieve fame. OUBEY was concerned with the love of creation and the joy of insight. From the very first day this kind of ability-to-forget-yourself always fascinated and impressed me.

At the end of the evening my two discussion partners “threw in the towel” even though I suspect that my intervention didn’t really make them change their mind. Or perhaps it did? Perhaps I should write to them and ask them. Their answer would interest me.

And with the beginning of the indefinite creative break in the MINDKISS Project I too am now moving in the same pleasurable space of freedom from purpose that OUBEY always took during his lifetime. The quality of the pictures created in this free space speaks for itself.

I have no idea what fruit this self-initiated space of freedom from purpose might bear. In an extreme instance this time-off can and might even signal the end of the Project. It´s not my intention to wind down the Project. However, I do want to feel myself under no constraint to continue drawing it to public attention simply because of some given expectation. Whether or when the next stage in the MINDKISS Project will evolve are questions which I deliberately leave open. In this respect I am now perhaps closer to OUBEY than ever before.