“You suppose that you are the lock on the door. But you are the key that opens it.” Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī Mevlana
This cycle came about in 2018 and will be developed further in the upcoming years. It is comprised stories related to connections, unions, flow and passage of ideas from one land or culture to another and the aspiration towards new destinations in life.
The idea for it stems from my earliest cycle “The Balkans – Captured Moments”. In it, the Balkans were a natural point of historical passage of large masses of people who crossed through it in their pursuit of a better life over the years. This movement continues into the present day. With this transition comes the natural flow of various ideas and concepts from East to West. One of my paintings is devoted to a city standing between East and West. This centuries-old city is current day Istanbul which is traversed by numerous bridges connecting its Asian and European shores. We continue witnessing the intensive movement of people towards Europe. This gives ample ground yet another interpretation of this theme of how we people are all interconnected.
Windows are architectural elements which have a symbolic meaning in art usually associated with intermediation between interior and exterior. They are a means of observation, inadvertent voyeurism, communication, liberation, hope, opportunities or escapism. Though life indoors is limited by walls, it is enough to open a window and look at the world from above. Thus, we observe and discover the outside world, nature and the unknown horizons. We strengthen our sense of community and belonging. The air and light passing through bring us hope and lift our spirit showing the way to new opportunities. As the famous line from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”, uttered by the lead protagonist, Maria, asserts, “when the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Furthermore, at windows dates are being appointed and serenades sung. Windows are the harbor from which ships sail away to unknown coasts, towards unpredictable encounters and experiences. On the other hand, windows facilitate separation and seclusion. Together with walls, they delineate the spaces we inhabit and what we chose to keep private. Windows can morph into boundaries separating space and worlds, human souls and people.
Doors are a symbol deeply ingrained in our psyche – they represent the idea for the passage of boundaries/ limitations or their closure. They enable entry from one space or time to another, a threshold, a metamorphosis, a potential opportunity or a new beginning. However, doors can also be seen as boundaries, barriers or keepers of a secret. Sometimes gaining access may be as simple as turning the handle, but at other times a door is locked and presents us with a choice to either try to enter peacefully or surmount it with physical force. This theme recurs in countless stories, literary works, fairytales and myths from “Ali Baba” through “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the “The Lion, The Witch, And the Wardrobe” to the “Secret Garden”.
Bridges are elements that connect two sides or shores or two realms. They can be real or abstract. By crossing over a bridge one overcomes an obstacle, be it concrete as a river or a gorge, or a more abstract one. Thus, it represents also transition or a voyage, but it can also be a point of meetings. Every bridge has its story of building and/ or demolishing.Yet, for me, one of the greatest interpretations of the bridge as a symbol is that of hope – the kind of hope that brings inspiration and dreams. It beckons you to take a step in the direction of achieving these dreams.
“The door of illumination is open to those for whom other doors are closed.” Idries Shah
“Of all the things created and built by humankind as a part of life’s effort, nothing in my mind is better or worthier than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred, and more universal than temples. They belong to all and treat all alike; they are useful, always built for a purpose, at a spot where most human needs entwine; they are more durable than other buildings and serve no secret or evil purpose…”
“…They are all essentially one, they are equally worthy of our attention, because they show the place where humankind encountered an obstacle and did not stop before it, but overcame and bridged it the way humankind could, according to understanding, taste, and circumstances…”
“…Thus, everywhere in the world, wherever my thoughts wander or stop, they encounter faithful and silent bridges like an eternal and ever insatiable human desire, to connect, to reconcile, and to join everything that challenges our spirit, eyes and feet, to stop division, contradiction, or parting….” “Bridges”, Ivo Andric