Images for deep relaxation and physiological hygiene (maximal recommended intake)
In his 5th series “Images for deep relaxation and physiological hygiene”, Robert Roest researches the relationships between the image, the viewer, time, and spirituality. The paintings have their origin in the designs of air fresheners and hour-long meditation or relaxation videos of ocean sounds on YouTube. Roest reduced the original designs to a minimum. Stripped of fonts, brands, and manuals, they appeal to an ideal atmosphere of space, clarity and freshness. A consumerist aesthetic ambivalently links a profane everydayness with the ideal of sacrality.
The series is also a contemporary continuation and re-evaluation of the spiritual function of art as understood in earlier, almost forgotten, times. The art work was ‘functional’ because it was understood to contain ‘magical’ power – the work of art as a materialized experience of an invisible immaterial manifestation. Of course, it is the spectator who unconsciously projects that power, derives meaning from its reflection.
Roest notices that, in modern times, the artwork has been demystified, its original function lost, or misunderstood. Roest wonders, who better understands a Byzantine icon, or a traditional Dogon statue from Mali? An art historian of stature, or an orthodox believer and a member of the Dogon tribe?
Because this spiritual / psychological concept has been deconstructed in science and modern philosophy and has begun to understand the artwork in this deconstructed way, it deprived the viewers ability to integrate the sacral through images. The artwork was demystified, and with that ‘understanding’ the real function of the artwork was actually misunderstood. Dismantling the mysterious workings provided insight and knowledge, but along with that it sacrifices the ability to derive psychological or spiritual benefits from an image. Since then, the audience is no longer user, who have the ability to make the work of art function ‘magically’, but merely spectator, with a certain distance. The point is that the hunger for knowledge gives, yes… knowledge, but is accompanied with a loss of lively insight.
Roest invites the contemporary viewer to experience ‘Images for Deep Relaxation and Physiological Hygiene’ in relation to this ‘magical’ way of understanding.