Four monuments in an empty and dreary landscape, veiled in cloth, trapped in scaffolding – unfinished. Still under construction, they promise to be finished tomorrow, yet there is no light at the horizon and the title informs us that “Tomorrow is Never”.I see in this painting a metaphor for our endless striving for perfection. As if we were a building site, we are constantly trying to change and improve ourselves. A haircut, make-up or new clothes to improve the facade. Exercise and training to strengthen, stabilise or to make the construction slimmer. Education, coaching and self-development for better wiring and connection to networks.
Improvement is a natural and important part of life. What we are forgetting, though, is that there is no state of perfection to reach. The tomorrow, when we will be absolutely, perfectly beautiful, fit and smart, will never come. The building will never be done.
We dismiss our current state as unfinished, don’t dare to tread confidently onto the stage of life before we have reached this unreachable goal. We hide in scaffolding and excuse ourselves as still in progress. We are trapped in our striving.
The message I take from this painting is thus that we must see, accept and value ourselves and each other as we are in each moment – continuously developing and evolving. We are not a yet insufficient version of the goal, we are the path.
Artwork: Kay Sage, 1955, Tomorrow is Never. Seen at the Metropolitan Museum, New York City.