Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Artodyssey on the painter Reinier Berendsen.
In the unmistakably 21st-century paintings by Reinier Berendsen the first thing you notice is his technical mastery, then immediately the surprise (or shock) follows over the total absence of people. The squares, streets and canals are deserted. The silence is deafening. Berendsen is a talented portraitist as well, so it is definitely not a lack of competence. The immediate cause for banishing people was a television documentary on the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who in 1999 delivered a notorious lecture by the title of "Rules of a Human Park". Summarized, one of the things the philosopher claims in this lecture is that humanistic era is closed as a result of the rise of mass culture. He falls back on the question previously asked by Martin Heidegger (1889-1976): "Where is Man?"; a question Heidegger himself answered with "In the World". Sloterdijk thinks this is a vague answer, and therefore he introduces the term "Human Park". His thesis is that "Man must get used to the idea of living in a park, where the authenticity is a lost ideal".

As it were, Berendsen is showing a Human Park, without passing judgement or drawing conclusions by the way.
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