The Artist’s World of Quick Glances: Somewhere Between Being and Truth
This is why the content of any work is not the nature of the figure or the head portrayed, but the incomplete history of the artist staring at it.
— John Berger
As delectable as the sunset appears, it can never be consumed. Look at an ancient oak from every angle imaginable, but the magic of its inner-working are forever hidden. Even our own faces are never what they seem, reversed in mirrors, taken from different starting points through other’s eyes, especially the ones who love us. Things and faces keep their secrets, as surely as the rainbow I see is the dark cloud to other eyes across the bay. Nothing is complete, not in a reality of constant flux. If anything is forced into stasis, it becomes nothing more than a pickled relic in a dusty jar of false water, signifying nothing but its own absence. Perhaps the only way to catch a glimpse of the vertiginous flux of the world, from rock to wind, is through the artist’s representation, never mind the mode. History is never complete when history is always re-historicizing itself, over and over again, in as many ways as there are minds.
The world is revealed
In quick glances,
There can be no completion.
Even the fixed glimpse of the artist, the artwork, is always changing. Just as glass is a slow-moving liquid but appears frozen in time, so the face in that glass changes along with it, just as the artwork does through the flux of time. But this change is beyond the atomic level, much more than the artwork’s handling and placement in museum or mansion, garage or trash heap, it’s the changing perspective of the Age, living eyes directed by the minds who see the dead artist’s totem to a time irretrievable. False values are placed on everything, since nothing is of any value, unless there are people to perceive them, otherwise, all is intertwined as World, nothing greater or lesser, since all is composed of the fundamental atomic building blocks, from this next word, to the light leaving a galaxy that won’t reach Andromeda for millions of years and will never find this galaxy, not in the way we think.
It was the act of looking which kept the artist aware of being constantly suspended between being and the truth.
— John Berger
Flux is neither here nor there — not even somewhere in-between — since flux is the breath of Chaos. How can anything be created out of the infinitude when the infinitude will never stand still? Nothing is created out of it, not in the way the artist imagines, through an act of will and delusion that requires a touch of madness and forced forgetfulness of all the failures before and the one at hand. But only a glimpse of what was imagined in the flux of this breath of Chaos results in a gift, the kind of gift that enchants through its timelessness, even though the gift paradoxically changes over time. Somewhere within that glimpse, be it song or statue, is the hidden glance of a mind in a time and a place, a circumstance carved out of the moment, but one that is forever hidden beneath, just like the magic of the life of the oak beneath its wrinkled bark.