Meta-art: what the hell...

Who is afraid of Marianne Schuit?, oil on canvas, 2007

Take Who is afraid of Marianne Schuit?

What a nasty piece of work! Even the most self-assured art lover will not find any solid ground under his art loving feet, looking at this ‘hellish’ Meta-painting.

Well, that’s Meta-art... Presenting you well-known phenomena without ever offering you the possibility to put them together into something that is understandable.

But what the hell is happening then?

In fact there is happening too much to be told, but let me offer you some insight in a few characteristics of a Meta-painting.

  1. 1)Comprehensiveness

    A Meta-painting does not express certain

    phenomena, atmospheres and insights, it

    expresses as much phenomena, atmospheres

    and insights at the same time as ‘possible’.

  1. 2)Everything is connected with everything

     In a Meta-painting there is nothing, absolutely

     nothing, that is not connected to everything else.

     No detail is minor, no matter how small it may

     be. It influences everything else just like

     everything else influences the detail.

  1. 3)Everything is contradictory, despite a grand harmony

    A Meta-painting finds itself always, always(!), in

    a state of grand harmony, which is incredible,

    because everything in a Meta-painting is


  1. 4)There is a development in time; a Meta-painting is never finished

     Because of the incredible amount of

     contradictory phenomena, atmospheres and

     insights presented to us by a Meta-painting, it is

     impossible to ever see it for what it ‘actually is’.

     The impression we get from a Meta-painting

     constantly changes and will never stop changing


     However there is most certainly a certain

    ‘personality’ attached to every distinctive Meta-

     painting, this ‘personality’ appears to be

     incredibly ‘fluid’.

  1. 5)At the base of a Meta-painting there is utter nonsensicality

    In Meta-painting the nonsensical makes sense.


    The most important and influential theme in

     contemporary society as well as in the arts,

     freedom, finds itself at an all time high in the

     Meta-paintings of Marianne Schuit, while the

     meticulous style of these paintings seems to find

     itself at the very opposite of freedom.

     Contrary to the developments in the arts, in

     Meta-art we find utter freedom of expression

     rooted in utter bondage.    


Take Who is afraid of Marianne Schuit?

Ad 1) Bold, cautious, noble, coarse, dynamic, static,

          prozaic, poetic, profound, shallow, brutal,

          tender, focused, unfocused, in your face,

          withdrawn into itself, simple, complex,

          invincible, fragile, grand, insignificant, touching,

          repulsive, warm, chilly, straight forward, wary,

          bound, free, flat, multi-dimensional, knowing,

          asking, colourful, colourless, graphic, painterly,

          refined, boorish, explorative, suggestive, red,

          not-red, blue, not-blue, intellectual, sensitive,

          loud mouthed, modest, tensious, at ease, ...

          paradoxical..., boldheaded..., challenging...,

          innovative..., philosophical..., contemporary...,

          classical... cutting-edge..., endlessly layered...

Ad 2) Do not change the width of a particular line just

          a fraction of an inch. Do not change any of the

          colours even a little bit. Do not displace any

          of the small black rectangles. Any change in

          form, place or colour would most definitely

          disrupt the Meta-painting from its grand (but

          absurd...) harmony.

          The nonsensical balance of all the nonsensical

           elements of this Meta-painting would be

           essentially disrupted by whatever change we

           would impose on it. Everything is exactly in the

           right place, with the right quality, to offer

           exactly the right contribution to the whole of the


Ad 3) See Ad 1) Everything in Who is afraid of

          Marianne Schuit? is contradictory. Still the

          Meta-painting is finding itself in a grand


          This harmony is so non-sensical that we can

          hardly believe it represents true harmony. The

          Meta-painting is constantly ‘hanging in the

          balance’ in our awareness, causing a never-

          ending ‘feeling’ that it is slipping away from our

          sense of hamony. And this causes a constant

          sparkling liveliness that does not seem to be

          connected to something in such a state of

          grand harmony.

Ad 4) Through our eyes there is so much

          contradictory information entering our brains,

          that it is simply impossible to be aware of it all.

          Our brains are built to be aware of phenomena

          that exclude each other: warm - cold, hard -

          soft, brutal - tender... In a Meta-painting such

          pairs of contradictory phenomena do not at all

          exclude each other, but exist at the same time

          at the same place.

           Looking at a Meta-painting means constantly

           being confronted with phenomena that should

           exclude each other, but still enter our brains

           inseperably together. Because these brains

           have to exclude, from each pair of

           contradictory phenomena they choose for one

           of them to concentrate on. But because our

           brains do sense that the other quality is also

           present in what our eyes show us, our brains

           are switching their focus from time to time to

           the other quality in order to see it all.

           With an incredible amount of pairs of such

           contradictory phenomena, this means our

           brains never reach the point of seeing a Meta-

           painting for what it ‘truly’ is. Its image in our

           brains changes all the time, which we feel as a

           real development in time.

Ad 5)  No matter what thoughts we have about the

           origins of our existence, we think that at the

           base of it there is something utterly

           nonsensical. God or nature, the fact that they

           are the reason for our existence is something

           we cannot grasp with whatever part of our


            At the base of each Meta-painting there are

            phenomena that are just as utterly


            How is it possible that from the

            very restricted style in which they are painted

            grows a freedom of expression unknown to

            even the most losely created works of art



            How is it possible to contain such an

            incredible amount of contradictory

            phenomena, while still ending up in an

            unbelieveably grand classical harmony?

            In fact all of this is not possible, measured by

            the standards of ‘ordinary’ art.

            In Meta-art nothing could be more natural.

            Which leads us to yet another highly

            nonsensical characteristic of Meta-art:

            however entirely artificial, Meta-paintings

            always ‘feel’ all-natural. Their deep and

            manifold layering is not created, it is all there

           ‘just because its there’.

Atlantis, oil on canvas, 2010

Night watch, oil on canvas, 2011