Dans les circonstances actuelles qui révèlent plus que jamais la souffrance qu'infligent les plus gratuites violences de la guerre, Thèmes se réjouit d'accueillir le texte du Dr Doru Imbroane Marculescu.
Sculpteur anglais, d'origine roumaine, issu d'une famille illustre d'artistes de l'Europe de l'Est (Baron George von Lovendahl, Maria Topor von Tarnovietchi) et de religieux et politiques de tradition orthodoxe (son grand-père, le Dr Avram Imbroane, était ministre des affaires religieuses en 1918), Doru Imbroane Marculescu est aussi scientifique et philosophe de formation (Univ. de Bucarest) et docteur en mathématiques pures (King's College de Londres). Il a été particulièrement lié au philosophe Sorin-Titus Vassilie-Lemeny, publié en français par la B.P.C. aux Editions Bière en 1990.
Il présente ici lui-même son oeuvre majeure, "L'humanité torturée", une sculpture monumentale (qui correspond à une Crucifixion aux multiples visages de douleur) à l'occasion de la dernière manifestation à laquelle elle a donné lieu : à la Cathédrale de Winchester, où elle peut être encore découverte jusqu'au 24 avril prochain.
Elle avait déjà été exposée, en prêtant à de nombreux commmentaires dans la presse, dans les lieux suivants : St. Giles Church, Oxford ; Westminster Cathedral, Londres ; Great. St. Mary's, University Church, Cambridge ; St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, Londres.
Pour bien saisir la portée d'une allusion finale, il a paru utile de reproduire à la suite quelques extraits de l'analyse du regretté Pierre Rouve (qui était professeur de philosophie de l'art, spécialiste de Turner et de critique esthétique sémiotique à l'Univ. de Londres), à l'occasion de l'exposition d'Oxford en 1999.
Thèmes, N d. R.
Reflections on my bronze statue entitled Tortured Humanity
by Doru Imbroane Marculescu
[Holy Easter 2003]
Tradition tells us that almost every assertion should equally be studied in the light of its denial.
However, this needn’t apply when simply noticing that the act of forgetting remains an irreversible process mainly when the will not to remember becomes absolutely necessary. As proof of the undeniable liberation of our personal or collective Ego from responsibility to a conscience devoid of any kind of dependence, it acquires, as an easy way out, the unenviable role of muted dogma. Memory, as will to remember, is therefore seen as a major challenge to the proud status and evolution in time of the Superego. It is first allowed, then forced into falling into the invisible, therefore imponderable, situation of perennial obsoleteness. The different kinds of relativism find a convenient, though conspicuously poorly scrutinized, usage in the confusion created by the trendy dialectic about the issues of the subjective versus the objective, a powerful means to deny the spiritual as a conceivable basis for distinguishing man from beast. In an obvious effort to avoid any redemption of the self from the Self, history is thus continuously revised in order to suit updated mundane conveniences. This is only one of the important manifestations of the facile revenge of the average unchecked ego on any possible change imposed by the non-Freudean concept of intellectual remorse. It also amounts to intellectual self-deception, since it leaves wide open the most obvious avenue for the reoccurrence, ad infinitum, of human tragedies. It is in this vein, that believer and non believer alike start to share, providing they command a minimum of goodwill, a first glimpse of understanding St.Augustine’s remark, written very likely as a reflection upon his own metamorphosis as a person: evil is a weakening of the will.
Freeing ourselves from History
The year is 2003 and, for many, it is now the period of Easter celebration, this unique annual event in the Christian calendar. To one’s mind come the ever-haunting words of a previously extremely intransigent, if not arrogant, St.Paul: …the Cross by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. (Epistle to the Galatians, 6.14).
Then one may raise the question: is this widely ignored, two thousands years old, insight of St.Paul, when judiciously extrapolated, relevant solely to those interested in the Christian tradition?
Let us for a moment attempt to evade the boundaries of this particular religion. Much more, let us attempt to become totally open-minded for a while and imagine going outside the realm of all possible religions, institutionalised or not. By admitting that none of us is immune to the charges of intolerance to foreign ideas, and of inflexibility and wild arrogance with respect to our inner Ego, we would have made a giant leap into allowing the beginning of a less biased dialogue to flow between human beings. We should owe ourselves this imperative. Freedom, and, in particular, free thinking or the consideration of free will, are much harder to give a deeper meaning, if this is the intention, when deprived of the choice to openly analyse our own profoundest preconceived ideas. It requires a minimum of intelligence, tolerance and goodwill, also though, an extremely unsettling, self-assertion by means of self-denial, to achieve this. Of course, many would argue, this is the crux of the problem: it generally can’t be done, otherwise the issue would have been settled a long time ago to the detriment of our strong inclination to commit crime against others. Some might even say that this is the main difference between sainthood and our limited condition, almost by definition.
Nevertheless, this is exactly the point I am trying to make: doesn’t world history, as we know it, represent an ageing sequence of holocausts our collective unconscious has somehow got used to? Isn’t this a commonly agreed-upon scenario characterised, really, by the unopposed eternal return of self-deception, just because of our stubborn opposition to the serious consideration of an entirely different premise in any debate: first with ourselves, then with others? For instance, it is quite remarkable that many decent rationalists who took for granted the Copernican revolution in science, which represented a drastic departure from the viewpoint of our being at the centre of the universe, are still unable to apply it to themselves. The whole universe is reduced to a realm complacently allowed to revolve around their colossal Ego. Of course, the serious reverberations of this fact become very dangerous especially when permitted to insidiously penetrate the collective Ego. This has repeatedly led in history to the polarisation of evil within large groups of people, with the known grave consequences for humanity. Irresponsibility and neglect make possible, in those circumstances, the flow of this lack of imagination, transforming more and more crime into an unstoppable archetype. In addition, one could easily mention a good number of other ridiculous notions that have managed to obtain the status of quiet public respectability in this manner. Doesn’t reason in itself become illogical? Isn’t the invention of the newly discovered ‘enlightenment’ bringing obscurity into the world, when those same rationalists continue to consider as strenuous or inconceivable the potential viability of other people’s opinions, unless they literally satisfy an incontrovertible set of principles imposed by their own Self?
Freeing ourselves from Ourselves
Contrary to all appearances, this is not a critical discourse about egocentrism, supposingly provoked by our unceasing individual search for a place compatible with the recent consensual concepts of modernity. Yet it is a plea for a different starting point-deceivingly simple in its content, but extremely hard to decipher-for communicating with ourselves. It shouldn’t ask more from us than, for example, the acceptance of a moderately educated person of that consistent flash of imagination called non-Euclidean geometry, which came as an alternative working hypothesis for the improved understanding of the physical universe we live in.
My proposal consists in accepting as a precondition for making judgements the consequences of a logic offered by the possibilities created by an approach radically foreign to us. Broadly speaking, it consists in the imposition on ourselves of an authentic will-a will that can accept the assessment of our Self from outside of self. In other words, having the strength to attempt Self-scrutiny in the manner that might be handled by a completely different self. The most difficult problem will still remain, of course. It can’t be done! Experience shows that this is so unnatural to us, that it becomes virtually impossible to put it into practice, even for the sake of argument. Moreover, some authors have attempted certain theories in order to explain this situation. Without going into detail, the common part of their findings usually boils down to the fact that our finite human condition imposes, for one reason or another, an impenetrable barrier dictated by the non feasibility of any genuine self-denial.
But this is the ‘crux’ (and the word is very relevant here) of my argument. Going along with the majority’s view, let us accept that the previous conclusion is unavoidable in the world we live in. Even so, if we don’t dismiss out of hand the quintessential appeal of my aforesaid inapplicable suggestion, we will have achieved something else of importance. We would be putting ourselves into an ideal position to be able to begin to understand, and reflect upon, the depth of St.Paul’s unique insight. To this end, let us agree for a moment to treat it solely at the level of an interesting autobiographical metaphor, and free it from any religious connotation by simply relating it to the story of a mythical personage named Jesus. We then remove ourselves from centre-stage and absorbed in undisturbed meditation, can make an effort to regard and hear the metaphor as metaphor. It is like achieving the right distance from a great painting in order to better grasp its Being, and thence to be able to get closer to its meaning.
At this stage we remember the echo of the previous discussion, which resulted in a dead end. The Self, whose influence can still be felt, was to blame for this. Suddenly reason gives us a shattering shock. In the flash of a moment we realise the fact that it would need oneself to change into a saint in order to even start to actually comprehending the act of total denial of one’s Self to carry the burden of others. We feel that such an understanding is almost at the level of the act itself. It takes a total freeing from one’s Self to appreciate the ultimate gesture: the conscious defiance of one’s own Self to compensate for our inability to ever being able to do so. But our minds become open to its possibility.
We are thus invited, if willing, in the direction of an infinite contemplation of something we firmly accepted we aren’t capable of ever achieving in practice: redeeming ourselves from our Self.
Even if this conclusion is valid, one can still ask: what is its relevance for oneself or in today’s world?
My answer to this question is that the deepest roots of most of the tragic dramas the world goes through can be traced back to the same problem. The inadequacy of trying to continue to avoid facing it at its most basic level is revealed in the perpetual manifestation of our darkest side. And yet even the tragic history of humanity is principally a story of Hope surviving our human limitations.
Art, metaphor and religion
Our permanently evolving notions and views about art are in danger of exploding into confusion when one tries to overanalyse the motives and goals involved in the frenzy that characterises the action of a fool who carves up a painting or demolishes a sculpture. In a similar way, religion can de diluted to the extent that it is not permitted even a theoretical significance in principle, when allowed to be embroiled in an exaggerate search through what we are determined to call ‘established’ reason. The analogy is justified especially when we think about the foolishness which accompanies our determination not to question proportionally our deeply rooted preconceptions about reason itself, although this method is thoroughly and systematically applied by sceptics in many other circumstances.
On the other hand, in the same way in which no holocaust can destroy the Spirit of its victims, no disappearance of an interested public should be considered as undeniable proof of the annihilation of the necessity of Art itself, regardless of its definition. Thus, since we can murder the writer, but not his thinking, Metaphor is condemned to remain in the realm of eternity. We may be able to kill its meaning, but not its Being.
My bronze statue entitled “Tortured humanity” represents, employing the terminology of the late professor of Philosophy and Art History, Pierre Rouve, a three-dimensional metonymy for the above ideas. Contrary to first appearances, the statue invites a meditation in the direction of life and hope, not death. Christ is depicted peacefully waking up together with the whole world, after a journey of cosmic implications. Suffering humanity is cloaked about the crucified but risen Christ. Together with St. Paul, we are all called on to attempt to lift the burden of our contradictory nature, with its many lethal consequences, by an act of perpetual re-thinking about the significance of the gesture depicted in the sculpture. It will surely take a dramatic War with our own Self not to feel diminished by such an effort but if, after seeing the statue and thinking about it, the beholder is moved at least to consider his or her position, my modest effort has been justified.
This work of art is for people of all nations, irrespective of their culture, race, religion or views. Its aim is to make an immediate and urgent appeal through art to humanity to unite in an unwavering global effort at reconciliation and mutual understanding, as the only way to tackle the tragedies facing the world today and in the future. It can be regarded as a personal, symbolic, request for a new start defined by a World Amnesty to itself in the name of each one of us. It amounts to Mankind rethinking its attitude to itself as a living whole!
Surrounded by the patriarchal peace of Winchester Cathedral, revealing an aspiration for a magnificent and sacred universe-the message of the statue is intended to leave a glimmer of hope for this simple idea.
by Pierre Rouve (†)
Professor of Philosophy of Art, London Univ.,
former Vice-President of the International Assoc. of Art Critics
A time honoured metonymy transfers on to the tool of torture the divine essence of the tortured and calls for strictly regulated reverence.
Even beyond the religious divide sanctioned by the Council of Nicea in 321 such turmoil of contorted curvilinear flesh may be seen by some as a slur on the creed of the sculptor's cultural compatriot the Moldavian Paissie Velichkovsky who, hand in hand with the Russian Dimitri Rostovsky heralded the transdanubian resurgence of the Orthodox mystical theology of Byzantium culminating in the profound meditations of our quasi comtemporaries Solovyov, Berdyaiev and Shestov.
The roots of Marculescu's turbulent techné rhetoriké plunge deep into a fundamental canon of Eastern Orthodox Christianity perpetuating the scorn which Genadios Scholares pours on all "beast-like humans".
and yet precisely this congenital bestiality of all men spurs the Son of man to die for their Redemption. This is why the Romanian sculptor shuns the apatheia of the conventionally paradisiae Cross and glorifies Christ by baring the impurity inherent in a heap of decaying flesh.
In this intuitive revival of an ancestral conviction the flowing undulating lines and blown up volumes which Western Baroque fancies had reduced to mere decorative arrangements of dumb drapes regain a long lost metaphysical consistency and flare up with renewed eloquence equally valid on both sides of the confessional divide. And indeed had Henry Vaughan written that "all flesh is clay" and had not Donne sensed its "sinuous threads" ?
And yet this fearful mass of mercilessly moulded mortal flesh is far from being a genuflection for the greater glory of evil as Du list Bogomil heretic and newoptic German Expressionists world have seen it. For marculescu God is not dead because we all are "children of light" (Luke 16.6). this glimmer in the "secretissima nox" preceding our Redemption veal the coalescence between the spiritual intent and visual utterances of marculescu mirroring St Augustine's outcry : "My heart is anguished". That is why, for all its limitations, this three dimensional theology remains constantly convincing. this unfashionable and perhaps unfathomable "Crucifixion" surges in the artist's private Purgatory.
© THÈMES V/2003