Untitled #14 from the series Twilight’s Gaze
Oil on canvas
120 x 80 cm
Twilight’s Gaze is a series of six canvases of which three are larger and three smaller formats. Painted in photorealist style, they each depict a blazing wooden idol in various stages of burning, from a recognizable figure to a mere silhouette. Several layers of meaning merge in these works. The wooden statue is a representation of Moses, while the fire references the biblical miracle of the burning bush, which burns but is not consumed by the fire: Yahweh appears in the burning bush, speaking directly to Moses.
Another association would be the fourth commandment given to Moses, where, according to Exodus 20:4, the creation of idols is prohibited: You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Here, Moses himself is turned into an idol, and burnt to honor the fourth commandment, it seems. And yet, the representation of the sculpture’s destruction on these six paintings creates a new idol. To Samyn, Moses here is just a symbol in the process of “taming the invisible”, referring to Solipsism (the theory that the self is all that can be known to exist). When the self is destroyed, he asks, will the entire world collapse or just a representation of the world?