I went to see an exposition of Ferdinand Hodler in Nada, Hyogo prefecture. I tried to see it in Tokyo but unfortunately it did not fit into my schedule.
As http://hodler.jp/ shows, his touch is bold and dynamic and his works are similar to woodblock prints. At the same time, it holds aliveness and lightness like dandelions that grow out of cracks in asphalt roads. His multifaceted nature captured my heart. That pushed me to see his work in person.
His first work was totally different from his representative works which we can check out on http://hodler.jp/. His old works look repressive as if he followed many unseen rules and that attitude mostly killed his inner light unconsciously.
Next to those old works, there was an introduction panel about his background. According to that, he lost his family when he was a child. He lived in despair. But his works showed that his soul always shone light into the relationship between such kinds of memories and his true self. Those were shown in his old works. I could witness such a hidden light, and that cheered up me in a certain way.
He is a Swiss artist. After he went to Spain in his 20s, he discovered Spanish light which is different from the Swiss one because of geographic conditions. That is clearly displayed in his works. In the past, I stayed in Spain over a month, so I could share such the feeling of discovering a new cognition of light.
He lived in the same decade as Rudolf Steiner. According to his works’ titles, he was influenced by him. In his second stage, he tried to capture the exact moment of beginning an action. So all of his famous works look as if they can move at any moment. And when we are on the verge of action, we need to be deeply grounded. I sensed that he did not miss this point, too. That is awesome.
From my perspective, he struggled between life and death because of his recalling his memories. He tried to find his way between memory and his true self. For that, he focued on the here and now like beginning an action.
Interestingly, when we have some kind of emotion we are away from the here and now. And when we begin an action using our body, we can bring back ourselves to the here and now. It looks like he knew that mechanism. That mechanism creates rhythms in our lives. Many people will feel rhythms from his work.
The rhythm between memory and our true selves is the same happening as life and death. I think that he could capture it and that made him a great master. We can learn the great relationship between memories and the true self from his work.