The lungs are part of an ongoing ‘Organ series’, of which among others also the Heart was made. The colour and organ attempt to leave a certain feeling or impression with the viewer, that tackles challenges of the human mind – problems we sometimes seem to feel in our physical body (like the lungs).
The lungs (or as I sometimes like to call this work, ‘Wings’) was made in the spring of 2016, in The Hague. The canvas was part of an exhibition about mental well-being and health at Leiden University College in The Hague.
The lungs are not only of vital importance to the oxygen circulation in our body, but the organ is also important for the mental well-being of human beings. The lungs hold symbolisms about space, freedom and how stress can affect the body. It is not without reason practices like meditation or yoga focus on the breath and controlling this, to obtain a clear mind. The lungs are also a form of expression, of relaxation and our breathing is used as a cleansing system of thoughts (such as breathing is used in mostly Eastern and Buddhist mediation techniques).
The importance of peace, space and freedom is created when we get enough oxygen, and take time and ‘space’ for ourselves. The other way around, we experience anxiety and lack of air, when our thoughts are under pressure and we experience stress. That is why the lungs are essential for both the physical body and our mental and emotional well-being: breathing represents life, energy and a health balance between mind and body.
So what do the colours mean in this case? In most of my works, colour holds a lot of symbolism that is either aligned with the colours of chakras or with colours that hold a certain emotion to me personally. In this case, I used fresh, cold colours that represent space for me, as well as air and calmness. I attempted to represent breathing and literally ‘getting air’ when seeing the painting, by using strong contrasts of light, airy colours with dark, strong indigo.