Blog by the artist Sanne Kabalt

You need not leave your room

Kafka's words circle my studio. They are read, copied, hung on the wall, taken down again, written in notebooks, carried away, read again, returned. 

There are two short pieces of text written by Franz Kafka that always return in my studio and my mind.

'You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.'

'How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.'


One of the most beautiful buildings in Amsterdam is the former filmmuseum in the Vondelpark that now houses Avro Tros (public service tv and radio). The people of Avro Tros are organising an interesting project in this building. The concept they have is thus: every week they invite an artist to spend a week in their tower. Like a fairy-tale. The artist is not locked away to be hidden like Rapunzel or Quasimodo though. The artist is expected to make work in that tower, in solitude and concentration. Three times a week the artist will be interviewed on the radio about his/her work, thoughts and progress.

I have been selected to spend a week in this tower. Alone. A small room. A handful of days. It is still some time away and I can't say that I have a clear image of how this week will be for me. But I can say one thing. I will bring Kafka's words. 

You need not leave your room ... 

... compared with, say, my knowledge of my room  ... 

Sanne Kabalt