What drives creativity?
Once it was reverence of the gods, celebrating the universe and all existence. Story telling.Tribal. Spiritual. Abstract.
In our post-Freudian world, it seems creativity has become increasingly driven by personal desires – desires to see an object of the imagination manifest, to appease the ego / gain recognition /status / money et cetera.
Pure creation is rare and difficult to disseminate at first glance. It requires not least a second look, but for the observer to SEE. It requires an understanding of the nature of the creator and their relationship to the work. Pure creation puts the work at the centre of everything; the shape and quality of the work is more important than the ego / recognition / status or money.
So where can you find pure creation?
Düsseldorf, Germany, 1945. Amidst the post – war rubble and crumbling chimneys of houses a creative hero was born: Wilhelm (Wim) Wenders.
Wenders began on a seemingly conventional career path, opting to study medicine and follow in the footsteps of his father, only to later admit to himself (and to his father) that the draw of a creative existence was too great.
Perhaps by default or by design, Wenders’ creative career did not begin with film, but with the broad exploration of other visual art practices: painting, engraving and photography. I believe this holistic approach to creativity has had a powerful effect on Wenders’ ability to craft scenes with a painterly sensibility to lighting and composition.
Many of Wenders’ films deal with recurring themes: isolation, journeys, changing landscapes / cityscapes, voyeurism, but I feel none of them rely too heavily on the script to deliver these subtle messages – the camera is constantly providing visual footnotes. Use of extreme perspectives, alternating back and white / colour film, reflections and shadows are all carefully integrated to reveal something about the subject – reminding us that the camera is a tool to explore space, movement, contrast, colour – not just to record dialogue or represent direct action, but to reveal deeper truths.
Back to the Ego. Creative collaboration is another aspect of Wenders’ work that characterises a very pure approach to creation – the ability to seek out and discover relationships that will shape the work in ways you could never imagine alone. Robby Müller, Sam Shepard, Peter Handke, Yohji Yamamoto, Pina Bausch, Natassja Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton… I believe this type of mutual collaborative experience, with writers, performers, photographers, interview subjects, is becoming increasingly rare. A symptom of an increasingly individualistic society?
A final word on the work itself. There will come a time when the work will have to stand on its own – when the creator steps aside and it must be an entity in its own right. You could become jealous, protective, cynical, precious and selfish….or you could embrace the opportunity to allow your relationship to the work to change, to see what it makes of itself as it passes through time and away from your hands.