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One Line - Cosmology Painting

John Franzen


Painting, Acrylic on Paper

Size: 59.4 W x 20.1 H x 0 D in

Ships in a Crate

Originally listed for $2,210
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About The Artwork

ONE LINE One of the most fundamental elements of art is the line. Shi Tao (Shih T'ao / Tao Chi) described the brushstroke as the origin of all existence, the root of all phenomena. Almost every image begins with a line. The line in these two series is amplified through the act of maximal reduction. It becomes the glorification of all forms and simultaneously the simplest of artistic acts. It thus represents the essential act and force of creation itself. The line, seen as the basis of art, is infinitely complex – though it may be taken for granted in most works. In other words, the line is the genetic code of artistic rendering. In the Japanese culture of Zen, Ensō represents a moment where the mind and body are free in their creative processes. Ensō is the embodiment of the state of mind at the precise moment of creation. In the series ONE LINE, the creative act is a moment of simplistic singularity: One Line - one mind - one moment - one act. "When I draw, my mind is clear, I feel my consciousness, my thoughts, my body and the world in and around me. In this state of mind, I aim to reduce the motif and technique to the most basic form of drawing. By mirroring my mindset with the paper in front of me, I aim to achieve an all-encompassing state of being. I, as the artist, become the mere moment, a moment of simple presence. I draw and focus on the void, on the negative space around the line. The space which is not the line, but which sustains it and enables it to take on the form of a line, ultimately comes to represent the line in its truest form. With each breath the seeming emptiness is filled more and more with the presence of the line, and of 'being' itself." ONE LINE is conceptually related to EACH LINE ONE BREATH, where the drawings are formed through the act of drawing each line during the length of a single exhale. As the work evolves, the artist achieves a form of spiritual transcendence wherein repetitive movements become all-encompassing. The artist is able to find a meditative space by translating his essential life-giving breath into a physical manifestation – each line in the work. However, in relation to EACH LINE ONE BREATH, this series reduces the concept even further. The many evolving lines in ONE LINE ONE BREATH are essentialized into one original line. But this act is in no way a reduction but rather pure maximization: the one line holds the intrinsic potential to evolve into any form; it is one line, but it is also all lines. It is pure possibility, constantly defined by that which it is not or has not yet become.

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Acrylic on Paper

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:59.4 W x 20.1 H x 0 D in

Shipping & Returns

Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

BIO: John Franzen (1981) was born in Aachen, Germany. Both parents were nurses. With 7 years he grew up in Belgium. Later he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht, Netherlands 2002-2007, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Working in various disciplines and materials, he focuses on the theme and production of complex frames of concepts with the focus of the inherent primordiality. He lives and works in Maastricht, Netherlands and as an artist and conceptor. ARTIST STATEMENT: An artist in his true nature is made of incomprehensible multitudes; he is the untidy culmination of a shaman who is not believing but praying, a scientist who is not searching but analyzing, an engineer who is not building but inventing, and a child who is not playing but dreaming. He exists in the paradoxical state of attempting to capture his own vast inner perceptions of reality in the confines of the outer world. His artwork is mystic ritual, scientific model and applied philosophy. His process may be compared to how priests or shamans work while praying. His art springs forth in a way similar to the emergence of holy offerings, that is, from a deep internalization of and total commitment to the unknowable source of everything. Despite this comparison, Franzen’s work remains immanently non-religious. While his process and product may be relatable to religious performance, his muse is rather the concept of the ‘Human-Universe-Executer.’ The ‘Human-Universe-Executer’ can create ad infinitum from the pure energy which he attempts to command. One act, one stroke, one move represent, in essence, all creation. Each further act is merely a repetition of the first and considered redundant. The artist must wrestle with how to accurately convey the fact that the urge to create is, rather than being inconsistent with nihilism, is intimately allied with it. Shi Tao formulated the principle of one holistic brushstroke as a medium for the articulation of a non-dualistic cosmos. According to this principle, the ‘Human-Universe-Executer’ and the observer achieve a kind of transcendence through the creational act. The one act is thus the most central concept upon which the work relies. In turn, his work reflects the void as source and muse of life itself. Franzen’s art can be seen as a spiritual mindset or mystical conception which has been adapted from Japanese Taoist and Zen philosophy.

Artist Recognition

Featured in One to Watch

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Handpicked by Saatchi Art's Chief Curator for our most prestigious feature, Rising Stars

Artist featured in a collection

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