the act of painting as a meditative ritual

Through an article in Hyperallergic magazine, What a Painter Taught Me, I discovered the work of the Italian painter Francesco Polenghi. The writer speaks about his experience when seeing Polenghi's work as transformational, even though he sees it as part of an "essentially secular, Euro-American modernist tradition of abstract painting." What interested me about his work was his process:

"As he painted, he would constantly recite a mantra intended to quiet mental activity in order to achieve a kind of absolute emptiness. In other words, he approached the act of painting as a meditative ritual." (Artforum)

His work reminds me of Agnes Martin's meditative mark-making where it appears that the process was more important than the end product. She also spoke about how making is about being present and how putting the mind to the side helps with creative inspiration. 

"If during the day you can keep from intellectualizing your life and keep from dreams you will double your possibility of being inspired."

It is interesting to consider the idea that leaving daydreaming and excessive intellectual activity aside helps develop inspiration. This is then working with intuition and allowing the process to lead. 

Unfortunately, the artist Polenghi recently died due to Covid 19.


Martin, A. (2005) Writings, Hatje Cantzp.118 


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