Monday, 15 October 2012

The provocation of Existentialism through the Kouroi.

Desperate to be inspired, I flip through A World History of Art. Letters, spaces, words and images flash in front of me. In the past days the book and I have become acquainted. Not very well, yet. And we definitely do not have that strong connection that I have with Art History (Stokstad). It is not easy imagining a story, history, art history all over again. But do I have to?
Recent events in my academia have caused me to diverge onto a subjective path. An existential trail.

As I turn the pages of The Book, I get stuck at the Ancient Greeks. The Archaic and the Classical is what has stayed with me the most. The young adult bodies, the adolescence carefully carved out of rock or molten into precious bronze. The naked soul is trapped in an earthly artifice: the body.

Honour and Flemming state the kouroi as a reflection of a distinctly élitist view of youth. Their pride of their bodies and the adoration of adolescence might reflect a male-dominated society, but nonetheless, this is how we commemorate the Greeks: male nudes, bordering between the human and the divine, embodying the spirit of society's philosophy.

Most Greek statues depict adolescents our age, ranging from 17 to 20-something years old. I cannot help to think about how we will be commemorated, how I will be commemorated. We tend to think that all we do is important and everlasting, but does it really? Will our contribution to our society be relevant, noticed or remembered? Does it matter? Should we even think about these things?  Does that matter?
Then more questions sneak into my brain: what will I be remembered for? What will I remember myself for? Especially me: 21-years old. Me, now. Is this the prime of my life? Like the Greeks, at 21? Will it never be better? Will I never be more sublime?

The truth is: we cannot answer these questions. Not now, and maybe never. The future is distorted and so will be our past. There is only so much we can know, and now I know about these Greek statues. Will I forget about them? Maybe.

What is it that we are to be? The classic existential vacuum.

And where do we seek for answers? In philosophy? Painting? Cinema?
I watched a film last night: Der Himmel Über Berlin, Wings of Desire. An old man narrates, as if he recites, "Only the most ancient traces lead anywhere". What do I take from that? Nothing. But I am inspired. I am not a film student, but here I am: learning.
We must look beyond what is ours.

Now, back to work. I can only think so much. But labour is what defines me. For now.
I hope to gain answers from the things I do, the things I see, the things I learn. While wandering around this, that is called life, I must not forget to see, and not be blinded by it. I must also feel. Feel what is innate. And then claim authorship over it.

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