Richard Mortensen (1910-92), On the Demise of Nina Kandinsky, 15 September 1980
Ever since the mid-1970s Mortensen regularly produced what he called his ”consciousness sequences”: extensive series of drawings done in ink applied with a broad brush. Their number runs into thousands.
A dialectic sequence
To Mortensen, images were created in the mental and bodily dialogue carried out during the process of drawing and painting:
"Eye, brush; to me, that is where the entire mechanism of creation is concentrated."
All this in drawings that he would not call automatic or spontaneous; he called it a dialectic sequence where eyesight, memory, and lightning reflexes led the hand. A consciousness sequence.
The formal elements do not float as in his mentor Kandinsky’s abstract painting, where they are clearly oriented towards an endless space. The form is an inseparable part of a readable, yet ambivalent space, a space created by the openness of the form even as the form appears to unravel in the nothingness of the space – Mortensen painted this piece and 12 others after being notified of the murder of Kandinsky’s widow, Nina.