Although initially very excited about my chosen theme, contrast, I quickly came to realise the breadth of the topic was beyond what I had first imagined. Thinking of contrasts I could not help but notice them everywhere in the world around us: architectural contrasts in combining wood with highly polished metal and plate glass; chromatic contrasts, in both nature and our built environment; or, beyond the superficial differences between human beings, the contrasting states of mind that we experience, as sometimes best exemplified by the more extreme cases of those with manic-depressive disorder. Can there be happiness without its travelling companions, sadness and depression? Is there such a thing as a child’s mind, and, if so, is it ever really lost in adulthood?
I also realised that juxtaposing contrasting states was not unlike the way in which a scientist investigates a phenomenon: you always need a control group and you must compare a given situation both with and without the factor you’re studying to see if it really has an effect. For me it was to see whether the state of being child-like is ever really lost and, conversely, if adulthood already exists in children. The proverbial inner child. So I went about constructing two hypotheses: that of childhood in adulthood and that of adulthood, and its supposed weariness and wisdom, in childhood. The catch was that I did not want to make the choice for the viewer – I want my art to speak to every person in a way that is intrinsic to him or her. So, rather than imposing images of children showing unlikely maturity or adults playing in the snow, I wanted to have them side by side, indeed, juxtaposed, to allow each viewer to make up their own mind. They should see for themselves whether childhood is about being frivolous or adulthood about being all too serious.
For myself, I think that human contrasts that show neatly distinct categories exist only in fables and statistics. Life is a juxtaposition of black and white. We’re all somewhere in the vast grey ocean.