I just finished reading You Must Change Your Life – The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett. As of this date, it’s my favorite book of this year. I’ve always been a Rilke fan, reading and re-reading Letters to a Young Poet and Letters on Cezanne, but after reading You Must Change Your Life, I have more insight into the personalities, anxieties and gifts of both these men.
Three pages from the end of the book, I read words that reminded me of a painting I did in 2013. I named it “Becoming Whole” but didn’t think that said enough. I changed it to “As a Willow,” trying to bring out the tree that was part of the young man’s face. Today, I changed the title to “Worldinnerspace,” a word Rilke coined “to describe the space where the barriers between the internal and external collapsed onto a single plane. It is a realm where the self is like a bird flying soundlessly between the sky and the soul, he said. Rilke accepts the concept as both a contradiction and a reality in a poem titled “Worldinnerspace”: “O, wanting to grow, / I look out, and the tree grows in me,” he writes.
“Worldinnerspace” was painted in early February, 2013, 20 x 20” and is many layers of acrylic, some of which were poured over the entire canvas. I used brushes to develop the face, the partial faces and the tree.