Julius Göthlin — Transparent Movement / Book release and exhibition

Welcome to the launch of Transparent Movement, an artist book by Julius Göthlin. The book is published by Moon Space Books in 150 numbered copies. The release is accompanied by a small selection of new works that have never previosly been shown, but make up the content of the book.

Transparent Movement

While writing this text for Julius Göthlin in connection with the release of his book Transparent Movement, I ended up getting stuck on the idea of inner peace.

I told Julius that his paintings open up an idea of serenity much like the backdrops used in New Age and Mindfulness movements with their imagery of space and vastness, which would presumably lead to a clear mind. I showed him meditation videos on Youtube and discussed the different images. The idea of space brings out anxiety in me personally, which has to do with endlessness without constraint.

I’ve done yoga for about ten years, but I’ve never used it for clearing my head. It has been a way of challenging my body instead. Being calm is a bit foreign to me. Instead I let outer problems and procrastination take over my entire headspace. Trying to break this cycle, I would look at images of Julius’ cloudy, almost magical paintings to see if I could feel that mindfulness and be able to write. It was as if not only being calm was foreign but also pictures of serenity seemed to have the opposite effect on me.

During this time a friend introduced me to Ultimate Fighter, a reality show where MMA-fighters compete to get a contract with the UFC. I mean, I’m not an MMA-fan, I don’t follow the sport, but it kept my mind off writing and put me at ease in my procrastination. One of the contestants really stood out: Jonathan Brookins, a yogi who meditates daily. In the beginning I couldn’t really see why HE would win anything, because deep down I’ve always felt that meditation is quackery. While watching seven hours (with small breaks to buy food and smoke cigarettes) of this show, we would guesstimate the winners of each fight in each episode and I would never pick Brookins. Well, I was wrong… It was like this guy had control of his focus through yoga and meditation. I felt confused. The idea of inner peace, that endlessness and vastness of being in one’s own head, is scary.

There is a duality here. Opening up one’s mind to emptiness leads to being more focused. But how does one get rid of the anxiety that comes with the idea of infinity? Julius Göthlin captures this paradox in his paintings. They move with such ease and have a calming effect in their speckled blues, but they also capture a feeling of endless expansion, just like space. That ambiguity is the reason why I will probably never give in to mindfulness.

Alida Ivanov