Mercedes Replinger

«Light am I: ah, if it were night! But this is my solitude, being surrounded by light»

(Nietzsche The song of the night)

In the vastness of an open space, chairs lonely and isolated from each other, waiting futilely an occupant. With utter emptiness around him, its isolation is emphasized by a projecting spotlights on walls and floors, circles abysmal clarity.] The walls seem to await an object, a work of art that hold the wandering eye and lost the viewer, but only light and dematerialized elusive vision is offered as this strange exhibition «with nothing to look at.» The matter does not exist, has dissolved: nothing to see and, therefore, nothing to hold onto except the memory of those works that previously, on the walls, on the walls or fixed to the pedestals. The light given by John Cage seems an accurate staging of the fascinating transformation undergone by the painting and art in general, throughout the twentieth century, when the appearance of the light. Through the use of multiple lights, neon lights and bulbs, contemporary art became a real «aesthetics of light» in our culture leads, among others, two ways of symbolizing: light as a representation of thought and as image of the desire to look, face to face, the sun.

The light of thought

«Nothing I can say of suns and spheres, I see just as men are tortured. The little god of the world remains as strange as the first day. He would live, I think, more conveniently, if you had not beaten the brain with a ray of skylight »

(Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust Creator)

Thinking of the brain have the same intensity as those «places» where we witness the dazzling spectacle of the act of thinking, pure, without intermediaries and without matter, and therefore, formless, infinite essence pure memory aborted and with it the pass, the transit. In reality, the viewer, blinded

I. Proposal graphical John Cage in the journal CREATION, No. 8 (May 1993). P. 13. The placement of the chairs was established according to the combinations of the Chinese method of knowledge, I Ching, often used by the artist in his compositions. This extraordinary work seems to fulfill one of the «sentences» of conceptual art by Sol LeWitt: «the work of art that does not leave the mind of the artist», or more precisely the Secret Painting (1969), the British group Art & Language a painting unseen «, the content, character and dimensions should remain secret, not being known rather than the artist.»

Literally this frightening light, airy, pure gaze contemplates the inside, naked, in the artist’s mind, boundless space as its territory is a «non-place», infinite and immeasurable, distressingly silent and empty. Indeed, the most striking result that these works convey is the disturbing light feeling that time has been expelled, leaving the viewer helpless, without regard to the direction and vision that becomes hallucinatory and dreamlike feeling closer to reality: «But when we dream, can we say that we see? There is no light in the brain, only the illumination of thought itself … drawing pictures in a realm of light imagined and remembered.» 2 Italo Calvino is convinced that some of these works are able to catch the elusive color of mind, fast and accurate, consisting of «light that comes before and after color, light wave and particle … made of pulses, photon» 3 Last metaphor for thinking artist, becomes bright flash as well, in a «figure» of the domains of the mind, cold and distant, perpetually motionless.

The light, however, the contemporary new Medusa petrifies those who dare to look at how fascinated and also Giuseppe Panza di Biumo trapped for twenty years that met the most impressive collection of ethereal and luminous works that exists today , located in a «temple of light» where the collector confesses found in the heart of the artist’s thought: «feel in front of a full … somehow exudes the soul of the artist … He lives with the person with pictures. It is within your mind mente.4 Light, which like lightning through the brain and draw the thought, identified this with the transparency of a uniform, shadowless light that rejects the mystery of the dark, the chiaroscuro nuances developers: «the light of philosophical thought is the living light of the sun, but the clarity … light may not illuminate any smooth pit reduced to clear «Art is definitely displaying the artist’s mind, an arrow through his splendid a trail of his career.

2 Richard Andrews: The light that passes. James Turrell. Fundación La Caixa, Madrid, November 1992 to January 1993.P 82

3 Italo Calvino: The arrow on the mind. The walker, year 7 (1987). P. 107

Giuseppe Panza di Biumo 4: Interview by Christopher Knight (1985) Panza Collection. Centro de Arte Reina

5 Sofia, March-December 1988. P. 28

6 Maria Zambrano: Spain and his painting, in, Local Painting. Madrid, ed. Acanthus, 1991. P. 83

Light as a metaphor of the artist’s thought but also a blinding vision image. Like moths to the flame that consumes, artists do not give up reaching the absolute sacrifice just to have a look that is capable of dealing directly, face to face, with the Sun’s «temple of light» Italian collector could have filled with the most horrible nightmares sleep Tanizaki dim when observed, lucidly, this obsession with the brightness hurtful in Western culture: «under the white ceiling … brutal … shine lights spinning fireballs above skull … lethal devices … whose only purpose is to pulverize the trace of shadow that may be hiding in the corners «passionate desire for light in a compulsive voyeurism separates the look of the visibility of things: «All I saw were forms of light. When looking at a picture given, what he saw was light …

forms of light. And when I had said this, it was like go blind … as if someone had turned off the lights. «? The artist closes his eyes, refusing the possibility of representing the beauty of the world because this obsessed with a passion that puts ancient, however, in the middle of a game contradictory and perhaps , dangerous direct the eye to the light, look at the sun, at the same time, strikes and blind.

Beholders of the Sun

«How cruel desire is this light that have the suffering souls?

(Virgil’s Aeneid, IibroVI)

The artists have actually borrowed cameras instant flare prior to any decision of an image. In 1922, for example, Tristan Tzara writes: «When all that is called art was paralyzed, photographer his lamp lit a thousand candles … had discovered the extent of lightning virgin and delicate, more important than all the constellations that offered the comfort of our eyes. »

6 Tanizaki: In Praise of the shadow. Madrid, ed. Siruela, 1994. P. 86

7 Quoted in Matt Hulliean. Valencia, IVAM Centre del Carme, May-July 1995, p. 15

Old enemies, snatches painting to photography, as the empire of the image does not belong exclusively, shooting light, the flash ultrafast which inevitably requires close your eyes. For example, one who follows the extraordinary work of photographer Yugoslav Evgen Bavcar, blind for ten years as a result of a bomb that exploded in the hands, in 1956. At the hospital, as they gradually lost sight garnered all kinds of images so that before the final darkness his memory retain the memory of what he had seen. Now, Evgen Bavcar wanders places and cities shooting your camera to the amazement of the people, «even those who can not see have within themselves what they might call a visual need. A person in a dark room needs to see the light and looking at all costs. «9 blind, says Bavcar, too long for the light traveler like a train while traveling through a tunnel.

Artistic activity many consider extravagant, for Bavcar is, however, absolutely vital and necessary for their existence. The fate of Bavcar explained, surprisingly, if we listen to Tiresias fictitious, equally blind photographer despite his handicap is photographing the world around them because their Nikon definitely go for it: every flash shot compensates me a bit of the I lost sun «10 is ultimately Tiresias says, to photograph the sun. many artists of the twentieth century, but with memories willfully blind doubtless would have supported the Yugoslav photographer reasons to continue hunting pictures although anything can, or want, see, for the light at the end of the tunnel is waiting. This kind of absorption reality through a momentary blindness to Francisco Javier San Martin goes back to the Eastern iconoclastic tradition when some Sufi groups Beholders sun willful blindness caused his followers, «that opened the door to an intensification of mental images.» 11

8 Quoted in Walter Benjamin: A short history of photography in Speeches Interrupted 1. Madrid, ed. Taurus, 1987, p.80

9 Evgen Bavcar photographer blind. Barcelona, ​​ed. Anagram, 1998, p. 16, 44

10 Gesualdo Bufalino: Tommaso and the Blind Photographer. Barcelona, ​​ed. Anagram, 1998, p. 16, 44

11 F. j. San Martin: Art Mínimal. From Vision to glare. PENCIL No 120 (March) 1996) p. 60, 61

The reference is relevant if we remember the light mystic Suhrawardi Sufi theologian and the notion of isharq (rising splendor of God), which auroral light irradiation reveals eternal ultimate understanding of the universe. Artists do not seem to fear this dazzling, perhaps, why they believe as Goethe in absolute identity between the eye and the light: Could we see the light, says the poet in Farbenlehre, if the eye is not a relative of the Sun? «No one will deny that affinity direct eye and the light … in the eye lies a light clear that the minor internal or external stimulus is excited.» 12 Georges Bataille goes further and discover a new myth of «that so fatal» desire for light, on the existence of the eye pineal gland located under the crown skull, unlike the eyes stuck on the horizontality of what is offered to the eye, can «watch the sun rise and face to face as the eagle of the ancients.» The pineal eye for confirmation Bataille desire of human beings to rise above the ground condition and necessary explanation of the existence of one eye only and exclusively prepared to behold the sun: «I represented the eye at the top of the brain as a horrible erupting volcano … Now the eye is undoubtedly the dazzling sun symbol, and I imagined … was necessarily fall within this symbolization, devoted to contemplation of the sun at the pinnacle of its glory …, 13. Erection of gaze toward the glow of the sun, freeing man from the ground to reach the complete identification with the light source such as a fever, devours and consumes being.

Man exists so that «the sky and the sun can be covered» even forget the terrible price for their origin first, drunken light, surrender to the anxiety and nausea that produces limitless space, the vacuum absolute. The shocking mystery of this «impossible to light», in my opinion. It is nothing more than an alternative to absolute silence, the response from the artist altered modern consciousness of the impossibility of saying anything, to express anything. At that supreme moment of glare which is beyond the individual fragmentation intuition is eying a possible union with something infinite and absolute. Beauty of a fleeting moment feeling Octavio Paz considers other times rarer and Total: contemplation, liberation, wholeness, emptiness … Last a century or blink of an eye, that moment is immeasurable. Paradise is the only open to all men, provided that they forget themselves … we are the broken glass scintillation light touched meridian … We are very small thing, and yet, all rocks us … «14

12 Goethe. Works. Volume 1. Madrid, Aguilar, 1987, p. 483

13 George Bataille. The pineal eye. Valencia, ed. Pre-Textos, 1997, p. 61

14 Octavio Paz: The sign and scribble. Barcelona, ​​Seix Barra!, 1991, p. 30 (written at Delhi, May 1997).