In Defense of Sentimentality

In his 2004 published ‘In Defense of Sentimentality’ philosopher Robert C. Solomon writes; ’sentimentality does not involve any distortion of the world and it does not impede but rather prepares and motivates us to react in ‘the real world’. It is not an escape from reality or responsibility, but quite to the contrary provides the precondition for ethical engagement rather than an obstacle to it’.

After reading up on his ideas I started making drawings, gathering possible material while reading books like Linda Nochlin’s ‘Misère’, ‘The novel of the century’ by David Bellos, the actual novel ‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo, and lots of articles on coltan and slavery, the superrich and their indecent wealth in relation to endemic poverty, the insecure future for children in the face of ecological and societal breakdown and I decided to try and tie everything together in one work. During the process I bought a copy of ‘Le vision de Hugo’ by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen ( L’assiette au Beurre 26-02-1902) which inspired me to try out a linear composition, a continuous movement. Starting with African children opening up the earth to extract precious metals, going against the clock, against history via two sleeping children in the left hand corner, the band above it shows climate protesters walking to the right, above that refugees moving to the left, than a frontal line of militarized police and behind that on the horizon of a yellow sky a Spacex rocket, Elon Musk, The Sun King, The Wall Street bull and the Golden Calf. The satellites in the sky bear the caricatural faces of ultrarich burning up the earths’ wealth in an attempt to leave it and colonize Mars.

In defense of Sentimentality, painting 300 x 420 cm, acrylic and oilpaint on linnen, 41 drawings in different sizes and 7 small paintings. 2021