The other day my king, Karl XVI Gustav proclaimed, a bit jocular, that in his opinion bathtubs should be forbidden, because of scarcity of water on this planet. In order to get clean a shower should do, according the royal highness. One wonders if he himself have ordered the removal of all tubs in all his castles and mansion. The all to polite reporter obviously didn't raise the question. The Swedish kingdom have a lot of skeletons in the wardrobe, but now also in the bathtub. This tub comment from the kingdom of Sweden gave me a natural angle to start my series of journals about tub inside and outside my picture world. I like tubs I find them funny. Why? To explain why I am attached to tubs I have to consider what a tub is and was it isn't. In order to do that I have to examine other picture objects like holes and doors. It will be a rather long and winding journey I am afraid, but I hope my travels in the world of pictures will be worthwhile. First I will consider these object from a functional perspective and then I will plunge into more symbolic waters. The text for this journal is very long and I decided to cut it up into smaller pieces.
A tub is a container, and is like a room defined in space. The infinite space has no borders and is here of little interest. Infinity does not fit in a page or on a screen. When Robert Fludd, English mystic, 1617 wanted to portray the infinite primal darkness in book of his, the illustrator made a black square, maybe the first. At any rate it was almost 300 years prior to Malevic black square. Fludds square did no cover the whole page. To convey the idea of infinite darkness every side of the square had the same Latin words inscribed. ”Et sic in infinitum”, and so on infinitely. The primal darkness is in contrast to the page of a book without form and infinite and know no boundaries.See viola.bz/black-square-effect/
Rooms have walls in the same sense that pictures have frames, or at least borders that let us know where reality takes over. One could argue for special cases where the borders of artworks are a bit blurred, like rock paintings and drawings in the sand. The most extreme case is of course gestural drawings, as for instance when you want to explain a spiral to someone who don't speak you language. This gesture differs fundamentally in three respects from drawings on a surface. First it is performed three dimensionally, secondly it leaves no traces, and thirdly it is not framed. But back to the tub. The tub is a container like pots, pans, jars, cupboards, coffins and cans. It differs from doors, windows and holes in the sense that it won't take us further. The container has no back doors, no portholes to other worlds.