Excerpts from the interview Ortrud Harhues - Roger Nyssen on the occasion of the exhibition opening "Living Stone" in the Erphokirche Münster on 29.8.2021
Ortrud Harhues: Your pictures seem abstract at first glance. When looking longer, however, one thinks to recognize beings, people, animals, mythical figures. Did you intentionally hide them in it?
Roger Nyssen: In essence, this is exactly the problem of my project in the eyes of others. Abstract or Real? The vast majority of viewers see the abstract, which is also legitimate, as on the wall it is about the question of like it or not. From time to time, however, there is a soul who finds an access through the real or surreal. I pull myself out of the affair and say vaguely "mystical-surreal". Mystical, because I wanted to represent my search, my visions. Surreal, because I am close to Surrealism, at least applying its working methods: the frottage, i.e. the clapping into the primer. And the automatic painting, the emphasis on the subconscious and the random. In the end, I am usually fascinated by the fact that what I thought I was inventing had long since been laid out in the marble. The marble had only hidden it.
Ortrud Harhues: The one cycle exhibited here is called "Domseelen". What does the title refer to?
Roger Nyssen: 'Domseelen' is a spontaneous designation that I had already met after the 2nd picture. It refers to the Aachen Cathedral and this fantastically lively Cippolino marble, which was built there in a unique way 120 years ago. I still have the feeling that this stone in this St. Mary's Church has a consciousness, a meaning.
Ortrud Harhues: Mysticism is also of great importance to you in art. Can you explain that a bit?
Roger Nyssen: The question is very good and yet difficult for me to answer if I want to avoid justifying myself. First of all: I am not a mystic and my pictures are at best utopian visions. Let me put it as simply as possible. Mysticism is the SEARCH FOR GOD in the religious sense, the QUESTION OF MEANING AND THE AFTER in the philosophical sense. It occupies each of us, whether philosopher or small artist. So I read a lot from Laotse, Master Eckert to Karl Rahner, and in the end my head is buzzing and I know that I can only be sure of one point: The materialists among us are not right! One cannot explain the world by mathematical-physical means, perhaps describe it, but not look at its true reason. We have to admit to ourselves that the more we believe we measure and know, the greater our doubts and our distance from the truth become. So what can I do myself as a painter and engineer? Isn't it our human obligation to sharpen all our senses for the hidden? Getting into the heart of it, a Dutch poet, K. Schiffers, who died on August 12, 2021, put it something like this: "We don't need things to see; things need us to be seen."