Welcome to January

January (1994)

Over the course of the year 1994 Hans Diebschlag worked on his Calendar or Kalendarium series of 13 paintings, one for each month plus a front cover for the published work.

Here is January the first in the series and below are Hans’s accompanying notes as published with the complete Calendar/Kalendarium set of paintings.

“This painting is the one that is still most indebted to the original idea of a Mandala, and in many ways represents the seminal point of the whole of the annual cycle. Here the motifs, figures and colours that are to accompany me through the year to come appear for the first time.

The four figures, wholly in the role of observers for the time being, are found in the four corners of the painting, sitting on the ice around a frozen lake which is like an eye and which contains, already thawed beneath the ice crust, the germ of the year, the warmth of the heart, the warmth of the summer to come. Skating on the lake we find the Hare and the Hen, Yin and Yang, the perpetually revolving duality.

It is a cold picture. The earth is frozen and turns into stone, the blue and white marble that frames the painting. On the inside, in the depths, is the red city, as the heart chakra in the colour of activity, of pulsating warmth and life. The city is designed in the shape of a cross which symbolises for me the symmetry of the dream city of imagination and fantasy.

The perspective in which cities are depicted in Tibetan pictures – and generally in Asian representations – seems to us Westerners to be oddly distorted and somehow “not right”. On more intense meditative engagement with such a picture however, it turns into a multi-dimensional image and the “wrong” perspective dissolves into a miraculously appropriate, if perhaps unfamiliar, perspective. During this process, the viewer has at the same time taken on a new line of vision, in which he suddenly sees everything as complete and right and in a new inner connection. Thus the picture, like a window, opens a view into other spaces.”

Hans Diebschlag