Statements by Ulrich de Balbian

Since I can remember I realized that people are not on the same level of IQ, sensitivity and other qualities that form a human being. It is as if people are placed on different levels of a pyramid, with most of them on the first level. Someone can only grasp others on his/her level and some of those on levels underneath him. This is the case with the IQ of an individual as well as their level of sincerity, honesty, sensitivity, gentleness, kindness and all those values and attitudes (attitudinal types for each of those values) that together contribute to constitute a human being.
I attempted for all of my life to assist in the realization of the potential of everyone I came across, but gave up when I realized that human beings are satisfied with merely being that what society, others and themselves have turned them into - restricted intellectually, emotionally, socially, culturally, spiritually, etc etc. Thus I withdrew from social interaction even more. This applies to my art as well - I have little interest in participating in the art industry (of auctions, galleries, critics, reviewers, collectors, viewers and others that live OFF art). Most viewers want a nice or pretty image, and to satisfy that they merely need to look at a flower, sunset, other people, etc. 
I also realized, with a shock, that I do not paint to satisfy 'others' (critics, reviewers, gallery owners, general viewers, etc), but that my  process of painting and the works resulting from that form part of a certain niche aspect of the discourse of painting. Painting, as I intentionally chose that genre of visual art, rather than any of the gimmicky ones such as installations, performance art, etc. I paint in and for a certain tradition in the discourse of painting - a tradition represented by painters such as Klee, Kandinsky, Richter, Monet, van Gogh, Hartung et al. These individuals did not attempt to work in an experimental manner, to shock, amaze or to please - they merely worked in a manner that they had no other choice or option to. Those 'great' or more serious painters questioned the norms, the rules, the questions and answers that constitute the interpersonal or intersubjective discourse and reality of (modern) western painting (in the way that the serious philosophers, scientists, poets, novelists, composers, etc questioned the intersubjective CODES, values, and  norms of their own discourses). They did not set out to be experimental, but merely worked in a manner with total integrity to satisfy their aesthetic ideals and vision.
They therefore worked for the discourse of (western) painting itself - for other serious painters that lived before them, for the handful of serious painters of their own time, and for the sake of the handful of serious painters of the future - those still to be born.

I replied to questions on and reprint my answers here as they might be useful for other serious painters who reflect on what they do and why they do it.

What time and place would you most like to experience other than the one you are in now?

He intentionally choose to work as a painter, rather than any of the more gimmicky and fashionable genres of the day such as performance art or installations.He has ateliers in several countries, including France, Spain and South Africa and has British nationality, among others.
Research western painterly techniques and the structures of the western painterly code or discourse through the ages; especially interested in Bauhaus, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, Expressionists, some Impressionists such as Monet, and the contemporary artists influenced by them. In every work of mine I share with you one aspect of my aesthetic ideals and vision. Principles and factors that hopefully will introduce eternally lasting qualities into and transform the discourse of painting, like the works of the handful of serious artists have done over the ages. Lectured and published books and articles in philosophy (eg ontology and epistemology), theology, world religions, art, social sciences and other subjects. Spiritually ( or theologically) especially interested in the mystical traditions (of prayer, contemplation and thesis or the unity experience)in Christianity (Western, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy), Vedanta's self-realization, Buddhism's satori, Sufism.
hell - never being satisfied with existing questions and answers in any area of life - other possibilities always exist - and must be realized, endlessly.

Why become an artist? 

It's just the way I'm put together, I've got no choice in the matter. I've got the same exploring attitude in philosophy, science, etc - not satisfied with existing questions and answers

What does success mean to you? 

The few seconds when another work has been completed successfully before I start another one, but immediately I question it and must work again, as only the process of painting itself identifies the questions/problems and an answer.. for a short while and unending -- like all creation, the process if never completed..

What time and place would you most like to experience other than the one you are in now?

I'm already experiencing it - the eternity beyond space and time when someone is sensitive, sincere, honest, gentle and kind - and they don't even get paid or another reward for just being pleasantly human - like my 4 big American Pitbull dogs, always loving, so innocent like children - when being drawn out of oneself and the present place and time by a certain musical piece, a few words in a poem or novel, when beauty and truth meet in science, when being hypnotized by a painting. The eternity in every present moment when one, finally, in old age, reached inner peace...

I suddenly realized that what I always took for granted seems to be the exception rather than the rule: I do not paint for collectors, buyers, curators, gallery owners, art reviewers and critics and others in the art industry who lives OFF art. No, I paint for the handful of other serious artists, especially those who are yet to be born, and who live FOR art. In other words, I assist in the making , maintenance and development of art (or more specifically the painting discourse and intersubjectivity) history .