David Griessel was born and raised in Bloemfontein. He finished his BA in Fine Arts at the University of The Free State in 2012. He has since been a full time artist and fine arts illustrator. In 2015 he relocated to Cape Town, where he currently lives and regularly exhibits.
Artist’s Statement on Night Aquarium series shown at Bennett Art Fair
“Daydream, which is to thought as the nebula is to the star, borders on sleep, and is concerned with its frontier.…Night is a universe…The dark things of the unknown world becomes neighbours of man…and the sleeper, not quite seeing, not quite unconscious, glimpses the strange animalities, weird vegetations, terrible or radiant pallors. Obscure unmakings of miracles, the whole mystery which we call Dreaming, and which is nothing other than the approach of an invisible reality. The dream is the aquarium of Night.”
– Victor Hugo, Travailleurs de la Mer. (Toilers of the Sea)
The act of making art, in the most basic sense, is the concrete making of some abstract idea, an idea that often lurks in the subconscious. This small body of work is a collection of a few, tangible thought-fragments. These pictures flowed from my subconscious mind, and like a person stepping out from a dream, gained life in the waking world.
However, the dreamlike origins of my work do not bar it from having its own recurring themes, metaphors and symbols. The more work I produce, the better the onlooker and I become fluent in its visual vocabulary. My work is thus a process of both creation and discovery. Some archetypes that have surfaced are: the nomad, the displaced youth and the melancholic thinker. My work is often in conversation with literature from Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and T.S Elliot. These artists can also be the catalysts to my creative process.
What I ask of the viewer is to suspend their disbelief, and to enter, for a moment, the inbetween-space of waking and dreaming. By doing this, the viewer will be able to actively engage with my work, and hopefully, impose his or her own dreamlike associations onto it, thereby enriching the work and making it a personal experience. After personally engaging with other’s work in a similar way, I have found that reveries can be infectious. Should you participate with my daydreams it might well be that your own imaginings take a different form. Welcome to my aquarium of night.