PERTHRO (2022-2023, oils on linen)
“PERTHRO” was created as a commission by Camiel van Damme of Dutch Leaders.
I really enjoyed working on this commission. It took me with the preparation and elaboration of the painting, just as the rune sign symbolizes “Perthro”, into unknown territory. Exciting, surprising, and unexpected possibilities.
How it began…
Autumn of 2022, I visited Camiel van Damme (founder of Dutch Leaders company). We had a nice conversation after which he showed me his training venue. He talked at length about what was happening in this place. In doing so, he elaborated on “the hero’s journey”; how that is used as a format to guide people in a change process. He explained that each stage of this journey is represented with a symbol.
Of these stages of this journey the one that attracts him the most is the first phase, the “calling”; the feels that something is still missing in his or her life. A knowing that he/she is on the eve of an all-changing journey, with a realization that this journey is inevitable. The hero also has no idea what this journey will bring.
The training space has a large blank wall with a niche high in the wall. Camiel wanted to have a work of art for that niche. Something that could serve as a source of inspiration for the work that is done here.
While brainstorming, we came up with several ideas. We agreed that I would make a few examples for a painting meant for this space.
After we had contact with each other several times, it was clear to me: It had to be a painting that would inspire people, presenting openness for change. With a simple clear image that would also be clearly visible at a greater distance. And with a rune sign as a symbol.
Since Camiel’s fascination went out to the first phase, I suggested 2 rune signs to him. He chose the rune “Perthro”. This sign stands for initiation, the unformed, revelation.
I went to work, made 3 small test copies, and invited him to my studio. During this meeting, I explained to him what I had done, and why. The painting would be the size of the niche. The rune sign is rendered floating, emerging as if shaped by fire from the darkness of the unformed universe.
He was excited, and I got to work.
“Perthro” is a rune sign and occupies an important place in the runic cycle for self-transformation. Key words for this sign are: initiation, the hidden, unknown, revelation.
The rune sign “Perthro” represents the revelation of the mystery of the hidden forces present in the deepest layers of us.
It offers the opportunity to investigate, get to know and manifest this mystery in our lives. If we are open to this, we can fully develop ourselves as human beings. It invites us to let go of everything without reserve and to be reborn.
“Perthro” is also associated with Phoenix: the bird that burns in the fire and rises from its ashes. Fire as a means of re-manifestation. The cycle of dying (giving up, letting go of what was) and to be reborn again.
This symbolism is also reflected in the painting. The background is dark as the universe. It’s built up in transparent layers, making it a living surface. The universe is mysterious, dynamic, unfathomable, and infinite. It is all unformedness, potential and dynamism.
From this universe looms Perthro. The rune is also built up in layers so that it moves and every sqcm is different.
The fire makes this manifest; transparency and fullness alternates, sharpness and vagueness spread across the canvas like a dance; dynamic, glowing. The unformed takes shape and unlocks the secrets of the universe. Fire as a means of giving and taking life, as purification and thus creating a void in which a new, enriched life can arise.