ON THE NATURE OF VISIONS

Translated by Hedi Medlinger and John Thwaites

The state of awareness of visions is not one in which we are either remembering or perceiving. It is rather a level of consciousness at which we experience visions within ourselves.

This experience cannot be fixed; for the vision is moving, an impression growing and becoming visual, imparting a power to the mind. It can be evoked but never defined.

Yet the awareness of such imagery is a part of living. It is life selecting from the forms which flow towards it or refraining, at will.

A life which derives its power from within itself will focus the perception of such images. And yet this free visualising in itself--whether it is complete or hardly yet perceptible, or undefined in either space or time--this has its own power running through. The effect is such that the visions seem actually to modify one's consciousness, at least in respect of everything which their own form proposes as their pattern and significance. This change in oneself, which follows on the vision's penetration of one's very soul, produces the state of awareness, of expectancy. At the same time there is an outpouring of feeling into the image which becomes, as it were, the soul's plastic embodiment. This state of alertness of the mind or consciousness has, then, a waiting, receptive quality. It is like an unborn child, as yet unfelt even by the mother, to whom nothing of the outside world slips through. And yet whatever affects his mother, all that impresses her down to the slightest birthmark on the skin, all is implanted in him. As though he could use her eyes, the unborn receives through her his visual impressions, even while he is himself unseen.

The life of the consciousness is boundless. It inter-penetrates the world and is woven through all its imagery. Thus it shares those characteristics of living which our human existence can show. One tree left living in an arid land would carry in its seed the potency from whose roots all the forests of the earth might spring. So with ourselves; when we no longer inhabit our perceptions they do not go out of existence; they continue as though with a power of their own, awaiting the focus of another consciousness. There is no more room for death; for though the

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Kokoschka, Life and Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Preface 9
  • Contents 11
  • Illustrations 13
  • I. Vienna and Berlin Beginnings 17
  • II. The War and Dresden Expressionism 128
  • IV. Prague and London the Political Artist 199
  • Appendix 245
  • On the Nature of Visions 285
  • List of Paintings and Drawings Not Connected With Illustrations 288
  • Lithographs and Drawings for Illustrations 338
  • Bibliography 346
  • List of Owners 353
  • Index 357
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