Friday, November 28, 2014
Miguel de Beistegui on how the artwork opens up the Open.
When it works, the artwork ‘spaces’. Its work is a spacing (Räumen). It is not an object, then, or a representation, but an event. To space, Heidegger writes, means to clear, to free. This vocabulary, and this sense of space, is precisely the one Being and Time used to characterize the spatiality of existence. But what, exactly, does the work clear and free? The Free, in the sense of the Open. The work spaces and, in doing so, opens up – and onto – the Open. This is the Open where man finds his dwelling. To dwell is not the same as to occupy. One occupies a territory, a country or even a planet. To occupy is to fill and dominate a space. Whether military or not, occupation is always technological, that is, based on a geometrical projection of space, and oriented towards control and domination, whether of a people or of resources (and most often of both). But to dwell is something altogether different. It is to stand amidst things, the world and others in such a way as to shelter their essence, and relate to them from the point of view of their presencing. To dwell is always to dwell on earth, inasmuch as the earth is what cannot be occupied, appropriated or mastered. As self-secluding, self-sheltering matter, the earth opens itself only to those for whom reality is composed of more than just presence, and space more than just actual, physical space. The earth does not belong to us. We belong to it. As we try to appropriate it, it withdraws. Where? In itself, of course, but also in certain works, and in Chillida’s in particular, where it is sheltered. The elemental (the air, the wind, the horizon, light, stone), as self-sheltering and self-harbouring, finds a shelter in the works of Chillida, and especially in Zabalaga, the park where many of them today are gathered, and gathered around a house, a shelter that shelters nature itself as much as from it. It is also sheltered in ‘In Praise of the Horizon’, a monumental, semi-circular structure made of concrete, and also set on the coastline. The piece ‘works’ in a way similar to ‘Depth of Air’: the earth, the sea and the sky come together through the work. The work gathers them together, and lets them unfold from the horizon. The horizon appears not as a mere line, which can of course be accounted for physically, but as the fold of the elemental itself, from which earth, sea and sky are gathered together. The gathering of earth, sky and sea in the work point to the priority of art over science, to the ancestral and immemorial dwelling on earth it facilitates. It reveals the extent to which, even in the age of techno-culture, there remains the possibility of artistic dwelling on earth.
Pp. 148-9
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