As a child I would imagine I could have anything in the world if I could climb to the top of the stairs and not once think of a bear. Around the same time the writer Jorge Luis Borges imagined the day when he would visit his library for the last time. From such idle games that test the limits of free will, to melancholy reflections about our future selves, imagination can be both anchor and sea. It can either enrich our experience of the world or take us far from it. It can be the province of lust, salvation, peace, power, or damnation; there is just one constant – whether we treat it as testing ground, safe haven or foreign land – it is always our choice, our creation, our responsibility. 

Similarly, societies evolve by inventing explanations for the world and exchanging these in the form of stories. Ultimately this leads to shared imagined orders. There is bonding, but when orders contradict each other there is also conflict and sometimes war. Maybe this is the inescapable human meta-story, yet I believe art remains the best way to connect, challenge and channel these tensions towards understanding.

Robert Fitzmaurice is an English painter and printmaker whose art presents the human figure in absurd, fragmented narratives that reference history, drama and rites of passage, and who has exhibited nationally and internationally, with work entering a number of private collections around the world.