Contemplation ⸰ Inner Life ⸰ Mystery ⸰ Spirit
In Silent Line we celebrate the deepening of the mind. We gaze inwards at memory, thought and feeling. We treasure the wide and timeless space borne from their rich, mysterious alchemy. A space that’s alive. Made of legend and love.
Spilliaert’s strange, spooky paintings arrest in a unique way. They hit you simultaneously like a gale force wind and a sudden alien calm. Elegiac, lonely, terrifying & beautiful, this Belgian genius expresses interior life that exists somewhere outside of time and place.
Our image comes from an edition of a play Spilliaert illustrated named 'La Princess Maleine'. Its writer, Maurice Maeterlinck, was a huge influence on Spilliart. His plays display the same suspended 'out of time' qualities of Spilliaert’s paintings. They also focus on the power and richness of the inner world in opposition to external action - something Spilliaert vividly achieves in manipulating worldly scenes into his abstracted phantasmagorical visions.
The figures in Spilliaert’s paintings are nearly always stationary, faceless or turned away, in scenery veering towards abstraction. Detail is shorn away and outward emotion removed, supplanted by lurching perspectives, a strange coloured sea or face sculpted into a weird, mesmeric pattern. He creates a pregnant stillness, whilst we feel a hurricane of emotion lying just beneath.
Spilliaert’s paintings are ghostly, haunting & lonely. His focus on mostly depicting women in limbo, stuck, isolated & dependent, chimes with his strong support for the women’s emancipation movement. But he also imbues his women with nobility & strength. His paintings are otherworldly, scary but also sublime. There is possession & power - something uplifting, even, in that strange, howling stillness. What he expresses, he sanctifies, both the light & the mysterious dark. His paintings connect us with that wide, timeless, living place of the interior, the place this ART WRD - Silent Line - was created to honour.
Rilke is recognized as one of the most lyrically intense poets to have ever lived. His poetry expresses his unique philosophy which developed to reconcile beauty & suffering, life & death. Not unlike Spilliaert, Rilke's work takes in the full scope of the world's dark side, regarding it as valid, universal & celebrating it as part of the whole.
Novelist Herman Hesse said of Rilke ‘through him resounds the music of the universe; like the basin of a fountain he becomes at once instrument and ear'. Silent Line's words are the first verse of a poem from The Book Of Hours. They honour the power of contemplation, the sanctity of reaching inwards to memory & thought - & the understanding it brings.
As it develops the poem claims this is a path to ‘another life that is wide and timeless’.
Here it is in its sublime entirety:
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.
So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots
a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.