“Feeling, being, thinking, perceiving and our overall existing in nothingness, is the most important part of being alive, of being someone. We must realize that, in essence, we are defined by everything that we are not.”
Pristine is the artistic realization of the mother of all images. In these works, Franzen investigates the significance of the prenatal space of each and every artwork. The image symbolizes the space into which nothing has yet been born, the untouched, unnamed and unborn state of purity. Nothingness in its infinity.
The white canvas, as the mother of all images, contains all possible creations ever captured and to be captured on canvas. Written or drawn. Any word, thought, idea, face, line, figure can fill the awaiting canvas.
It is the void, the nothingness and space of all possible. It’s a symbol and even an icon of the womb of every creation.
Similar concepts of nothingness as the basis for the universe and godly creation can be found in Asian spiritual and religious beliefs, art and design. Nothingness and darkness play a crucial part in Asian aesthetic understanding and perception. The aim is always for the transcendence of the mind to a godly state. Here, in Franzen’s Pristine, the mind of the artist and observer transcends by being confronted with nothingness. By seeing nothing, the mind resides.
Asian aesthetic philosophers describe the void as the womb of the cosmos. Paintings and drawings never fill more than 50% of the page, the rest is empty. Design and furniture, walls and spaces are minimalistically reduced to almost nothing. This all serves the purpose of becoming one with the truth.
Pristine is the experimentation of the “mother of all images”. Aiming to understand the significance of the prenatal space, which is transcendental of time, when nothing has been born yet. The visual symbolizes the beginning, purity, nothingness, as well as infinite possibility.
Franzen’s visual experimentation begins temporary, physically and philosophically in an artistic project that aims to show a pure whiteness; the beginning, or the “mother of all images”. The white exists as a virginal space, representing the untouched, the unnamed, and the unborn. It thus signifies the prenatal, beyond time, when nothing has yet been born.
This white as a starting point, or perhaps an inevitable returning point, is pure. It brings infinite possibility; it contains all that it could become. This possibility to become shapes some sort of underlying tension, since our human tendency to destroy creates a desire to mark the pureness, to disrupt its nothingness. An internal conflict arises, in which the choice can be made to either leave pristine in its glory, or to transform it, as is the case amongst other artworks such as Singularity Flux and one line.
For this work, Franzen is led by Asian spiritual and religious beliefs that come from Buddhism and Zen, that perceive nothingness as a main factor for their understanding of the Gods and the universe. This idea of nothingness can be traced back to primarily Asian art forms, where the aesthetics created are believed to transcend the mind. For instance, the transparency of a rice paper screen has the ability to make the mind become transparent as well. Similar to this, staring into the white void of Pristine can help the mind achieve spiritual transcendence. The nothingness herein expands our minds; “Feeling, being thinking, perceiving, and our overall existing in nothingness is the most important part of being alive, of being someone. We must realize that, in essence, we are defined by everything that we are not.”