Art Diary (9) – The Sublime

What these images have in common? Is there any sensible link between C.D. Friedrich’s “Wanderer”, the Cosmos, Barrack Obama’s image and Andreas Gursky’s photo (the last image) of the stock exchange? What would be that feeling, that intangible sensation of ours, or maybe even their own – those propositions’ intrinsic quality, which keeps us utterly speechless pondering over the infinity of the Space, which leaves us completely ‘knocked down’ facing Friedrich’s vision of the Nature, which makes us truly enthusiastic and ‘bowing’ to the charisma present in people (the new US president is the ‘fresh’ example); which leads us on a verge of an absolute confusion scanning the artificial universe of the stock exchange?

Philosophers and art critics called it “The Sublime” and, quite predictably, they made a whole, complex and disputable aesthetic concept out of this elusive spiritual phenomenon, this metaphysical ‘slap on the face’ that we feel entering unchartered, unknown and frightening (yet always in a pleasure-giving way) territory. Would it be the Romantics’ wilderness or the contemporary jungle of the financial markets or the true power of the human character reaching to its heights – its far more than just ‘beautiful’ – ‘beautiful’ can be a humble flower in your garden… Sometimes you cannot even call it ‘beautiful’, at least not in a classical meaning of the word… But it is ‘sublime’ – it’s intense, powerful, vast, superhuman – it both terrifies you and cast a spell upon you, it never ‘asks’ to be followed, it simply launches a rocket straight to your soul – but the answer is yours – be overpowered or reject it.

My humble belief as for now is that the new, re-thought and skilfully presented Sublime can have a redeeming power over the contemporary art. Maybe this is the time, when we could and should dare to reach to the depths of the human spirit again, the way our great grand-grandfathers from 18th century did?… Obviously, the simple return is impossible – not ‘after the Holocaust’, not after the death of god and not after the traditional philosophy had bankrupted as a ‘rescue’ to the overwhelming confusion of the existence. But to create that experience of being ‘uncompromisingly alive’, of being struck like by the lightening by the world, by another human being again – to invent, to design and to make it inhabitable anew… That would be something – wouldn’t it?

This is my intuition for today. I will give it some more thought in the future…

About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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