truth, the small and the large …

Let us go with what is good. First there are the portraits. They dominate in terms of value and numbers. Exhibitions are in danger to alter, being increasingly galleries of portraits only. ‘Art goes for bread.’ The words Lessing suggested to be said by his painter Conti, about 100 years ago, is today even more true. There are not many orders, or even none; and to paint a huge wall painting at a venture …, there are few who can dare doing so. Everybody escapes into the small and family life, because the large and general condemns to starvation. Actual arts is at the loosing end, the portrait on the winning side: the mere effigy emerges occasionally as portrait of an epoch.

my own translation of the following words by Fontane, from his ‘A summer in London

Doch halten wir uns an das Gute. Da sind zunächst die Porträts. Sie prävalieren an Wert wie an Zahl. Die Kunstausstellungen drohen mehr und mehr zu bloßen Porträt-Galerien zu werden. »Die Kunst geht nach Brot.« Was Lessing seinen Maler Conti vor fast hundert Jahren sagen ließ, ist heut mehr denn je eine Wahrheit. Bestellt wird wenig oder nichts; und auf gut Glück hin ein mächtiges Wandbild zu malen, wie wenige dürfen’s wagen? Alles flüchtet in das Klein- und Familienleben, weil das Große und Allgemeine ihn verhungern läßt. Die eigentliche Kunst verliert dabei, die Porträt-Kunst gewinnt: das bloße Bildnis wird gelegentlich zum historischen Bilde.

All this had been written a long time ago …, and is still so true.

While reading those lines a couple of weeks ago, I remembered just the day before: the exhibition

FABIENNE VERDIER MEETS SIGMAR POLKE. TALKING LINES at the Pinakothek der Moderne, including the Musical Intonation in the St. Markus church, with Christoph Reiserer, Saxophone & Michael Roth, Organ.

some more info here and here.

Can one say an erotic intonation, music of epochs merging, drawing lines just in order to dispute, to cross each other, even breaking them open, to solve tensions in complete relaxation…. as the communication of the lines of Verdier and Polke.

Sure, things are easily over-interpreted, and also admitted that not everybody needs to have the same sense and sensation. Still, as I pointed out in my contribution to the debate: we may easily overcome the metaphysical suggestions, taking things as they are – the repercussions of calligraphy in Verdier’s work, far from being ‘closed’, finished and finite; and reflecting in the things, in the expressions, in the ‘Chinese characters’ and for what they stand the as much as the need for a provocative approach to the virtues:

  • Magnificentia
  • Dignitas
  • Honor
  • Gloria
  • Ratio
  • Velocitas
  • Moderatio

virtues that are perverted by the Emperor Maximilian claim to be their personification, perverted by the fact that they are ‘closed’, defined as finite.

And with such provocation – and opens to it – the supposed tension and impossibility to understand: fir instance the east and the west, is easily overcome …, if we allow us to engage, to come close and ‘touch’

Is it true that Karl Jaspers said the following?

True philosophy needs communion to come to an existence


Uncommunicativeness in philosopher is virtually a criterion of the untruth of his thinking.


We surely need more philosophers – in arts, in economics, in law and in life …, those who allow themselves to touch and to be touched – a pity that all those are in danger of being starved to death as soon as they attempt to paint beyond the portrait … – is that the reason behind some faiths demanding

Thou shalt not make thee any graven image.

The fear of distraction from the reality – the fear of non-communication by tighten it in a strict framework of phrases? Doesn’t it then remind us of

The Other Christmas Story

two years ago posted here on the blog?

Un pensiero riguardo “truth, the small and the large …


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