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Man without Qualities

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"Man without Qualities" , by Erik Pevernagie Oil and metal on canvas , (100 x 80 cm)


If the scars of our daily reality overwhelm the beat of our life, we can at all times decide to start from square one, look up at the sky, being conscious of our pettiness, and enjoy the sparks of the stars to find the missing links.

Let us not be afraid of “saying” what we are “seeing” without censoring anything, or looking away and playing hide and seek. By naming things well, we avoid clutter in our life and torment in the world.

Let us not hoodwink our eyes, blurring our awareness and misleading our apprehension. Let us dare to see what we see and, at the same time, touch the feel and the overtone as well.

The Austrian writer Robert Musil has undoubtedly inspired the picture.

A « Man Without Qualities» is an anti-hero who decides to make a clean slate, a "tabula rasa", getting rid of all acquired alleged qualities. As he seems to have lost the center and his mind does not find the core, he feels the overall picture has slipped away. Only the details of life can help him to see the whole ensemble. Since he is suffering from loss of control, his worldview cannot comprehend the daily events. His conception of life is no longer a key for understanding but is, on the contrary, blocking off his insight.

All so-called "Qualities" assembled during a lifetime have grown into an obstacle to developing a man's personality, imprisoning him in a deadly routine.

If we decide to consider "a man of Qualities" as "a man of Possibilities," we can transcend William Shakespeare's" to be or not be" by "to become or not to become." When a man "becomes," he challenges the range of possibilities and excels the passive and inert stage of merely "being."


Like a snake sheds its skin, man is then capable of getting rid of his assembled habits. He can create space for a regenerating reflection and make time to call matters into question.

"Man without Qualities" receives then by itself an "Identity", a "Personality"

Phenomenon: Spiritual regeneration - To become or not to become

Factual starting point: Man without head, but with headgear