Darkness, a monochromatic black canvas, is the antithesis of Pristine. Ir represents the painting full to the bursting point, on the verge of explosion. The cleansing ritual that comes with the act of burning the painting represents the need to purge ourselves of the paradigms in the framework of our modern day existence. We need to find our inner selves again and rid ourselves of all unnecessary and unnatural contemporary constructs, ideas and all the ballast of our past.
The artwork is an symbolic-ritualistic of cleansing the image back to its unknown, unthought, unsaid. Darkness here is created in order to heal. The act of destruction is not a glorification of violence, but rather a act of liberation, an act of cleansing, from everything we know and believe. All ideas, values, forms, cultural norms, art, politics, social life, knowledge, history - everything is deconstructed into the original state. This is necessary in a time of globalisation, macroeconomics, hyper individualism, mass media and technologies. Despite and because of all this, the modern human is not connected to his deepest, hidden, sensitive nature. On the one hand he lives in a state of darkness, not knowing himself. On the other hand, our first world culture, social life and economy aims to dilute and conceal the individual darkness of every single person and the collective. By becoming mainstreamed, we lose our deepest wishes, dreams, purposes, sexuality, meanings, ideas and needs.
Darkness does not merely represent an end; it signifies a new beginning. It could even be seen as the original, true beginning. Franzen believes that the universe did not emerge from light, but from darkness. To represent this idea in this series, everything is burned down to make way for renewal. Out of the remaining void, new images can be created. Back to silence, emptiness, and origin. Cleansing by enlightening the darkness. Burning all ideas, names, faces and forms. Aiming for pure possibility, seeking to disrupt the newly created void again.
The more literal representation of such act can be traced back to the burning of encyclopaedias, which is a part of the series as well. All of this signifies an absolute end, nothingness, and beginning.
“Everything needs to be burned down. Everything needs to be eliminated until nothing remains, to the state before anything is born. Norms, forms, motifs are eliminated until only the raw, empty archetype remains.
In my work I want to revert to this original state because it is an immortal one, it is omnipresent, universal. The original state contains the truth, the entity and the essence. To get there one has to dispose of everything, all needs to die and be brought back to nothingness. The image and therefore the human being, the creator, and the observer is inevitably forced to revert to the original state. The effect impacts the observer on the deepest level: he is able to observe the true essence of being. Nameless, formless, timeless, spaceless, unintentional and will-less. I believe that it is the task of the creator and the image to be responsible for the original state and to derive norms that are truthful and thus indispensable for everything. It asks the question of what the nature of things is, what is the truth? What exists before the will? Before the established? What is reality? What comes before belief, religion, before knowledge and silence? Destruction is the creative act that reverts us to the original being.”
Franzen’s Darkness pieces are to be considered his obscurest, but also extremely natural. The act of burning relates to the most basic instincts and Franzen is able to put such thoughts into an artist investigation.