In the last decade, Andrea Musa’s work has mainly been focused on the aspects of time perception and different temporalities that characterize natural systems. Salty Air (2017-2020) is a series of paintings, a continuation of the previous painting cycle ‘Spatio-temporal lapse’ (2014-2016), which focused on the concept of time and impressions stored by our subconsciousness. Besides the phenomenon of time, another continuously present element in both painting series is nature in correlation to man. The third connection is the attempt, through the medium of painting, to refresh the old and bring into awareness new ‘images’ no one is ever entirely aware of at a given moment but which nonetheless our sight perceives and our sub-consciousness files away.
The central medium of this series, through which the artist perceives the phenomenon of time, is the sea. She strives to depict various ways of relating to the sea, psychological/emotional bonds, and two moments in the concept of time: the monumental power of the invisible force of time, depicted through the essence of the sea’s continually moving surface, and the vacuum of a single, unique moment of the gust of salty air, so that the observer gets an opportunity to feel the unknown, undefined power behind the eternal movement and duration, the unperceivable spirituality of nature and the world that surrounds us, yet still reachable through our senses in the very core of our (direct) perception. The relationship the artist has with the sea is similar to the one with mountains. It is characterized by a search for a personal dialogue with the great unknown, and just like the mountains, the sea and the ocean also make us face inward, make us face ourselves, and the open horizon offers the image of wholeness and a sense of freedom. The way the sea keeps pushing and pushing, remind us of how the world keeps moving around us and the relaxing sound of waves helps us reconnect with our own breathing pattern.
Leaning on Bergson’s concept of time as pure duration (la durée pure), the continuity which we can grasp through inner experience, life is perceived as a continuous and inconceivable current, as opposed to a sequence of consecutive sharply-outlined states of mind, and can thus be measured not quantitatively but only qualitatively. Time is portrayed as a strong invisible force within which all creatures and phenomena are created, shaped, transformed and ultimately vanish.
In the ‘Treatise of Human Nature’ David Hume says we are ‘a bundle or collections of different perceptions which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity… The mind (or self) is a kind of theatre where perceptions make their appearances, pass, repass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety …’ In that sense, Musa is interested in the experience of events focused on the senses, the spatiotemporal flow, observation of the fluctuating material world in continuous movement, a person and his/her inner world, and a link connecting a single human being to all of humanity and all of us with our environment.
In this process, a distinction between the inner and outer space, reality and imagination, becomes less clear. Impressions thus become both realistic and conjured up „images“ whose joint counterpoint makes up two sides of human perception – the visible and the hidden. There is no clear distinction between the outer and inner space. They are fused and overlapping.
For those dwelling by the sea and receiving its energy, the view towards the horizon, the scent of salty air and the sound of eternal motion, all have a special significance in the perception of the world. Through the power of the eternal being and movement of the sea surface, we become aware that the world continues to move around us, and happiness and meaning are nowhere else to be found, but are contained in the very core of our perception within the spatio-temporal continuum.