On Calypso´s Island: A History
In April 2008, after a long search and several rejections, I finally found the perfect gallery for the “River” pictures in Klosterneuburg. My third child had just turned four when the owner of the gallery not only accepted my exhibit, but also asked me to hang both floors of his gallery with my artwork.
But I didn’t have enough pictures for that, and the opening was scheduled for the end of June! However, I accepted the challenge and decided to hang “The River” and my older pictures on the white walls of the gallery’s upper floor, and to create large, new pictures for the rough cellar walls. I had less than two months’ time, and began work immediately on what would become “ On Calypso’s Island”.
While the “River” series consists of small pictures planned and executed in great detail, the fifteen “Calypso” pictures were done quickly, spontaneously, and mostly without preliminary sketches using sweeping strokes (tusche, gouache). I enjoyed this freer approach, especially after the seven years I had worked on “The River”. Indeed, my two-month “stay” on Calypso’s Island after the long and sometimes oppressive time on the river was a welcome relief – a lusty experience, an homage to exuberance. I was inspired by the Fifth Song of the Odyssey, in which Homer describes the paradisiacal island of Ogygia as the home of the “holy” nymph and half-goddess Calypso and her handmaidens, who were also nymphs.
Passionately in love with Odysseus, Calypso held him against his will on the island for seven years after his shipwreck. However, although Calypso promised him immortality and eternal youth if he stayed with her, Odysseus wanted to leave her and return to Ithaca and his wife Penelope. Finally, Zeus, father of the Gods, and his wise (or practical?) daughter Athena convinced Calypso to free him.