Of the heart of things — Sculpt your own statue

WITH DAVID BRUNEL

Of the heart of things — Sculpt your own statue

In art (and indeed elsewhere), simplicity is no simple thing to attain. It often proceeds from a slow laying bare of essentials and a meticulous pruning of excess. It may be likened to a grasping of the heart of things; a fundamental capturing of the subject; an immersion in the open understanding of what the world reveals to men and women about itself, about themselves, for them, by itself.

It is at this level and in this field that certain artists pursue their quest, which they conduct from and within an ascetic stance – a giving of self. Vincent van Gogh, like other artists of all kinds before and after him, like other thinkers in all spheres and mystics of all religions, sought a sensitive harmony, a rightness of touch, a rendering visible of what is life and living, of what it is to live in the world and experience this world – anything but simple.

The exhibition La Vie simple – Simplement la vie / Songs of Alienation examines a subject which has nothing simple about it (having a collective of artists is valuable here), because it invokes the full complexity of what simplicity can be when it is interrogated by art and by artists.

Cautiously touching (in avowed humility) upon different fields (philosophy, poetry, ontology, phenomenology), these two talks will seek to draw closer to the role played by art and artists in making what daily living complicates – in other words, life – reappear in its simplicity. To cite the words of André Gide: “Art is born through increase, through the pressure of superabundance. It begins where living no longer suffices to express life”.

 

David Brunel is a writer, photographer and university lecturer with a PhD in aesthetic philosophy and psychoanalytical studies. Dividing his time between Arles and Amsterdam, he lectures on aesthetic philosophy, art history, the history of photography and critical analysis in various universities and art academies.

 

Publications:

Au bord du visible, l’indicible, Éditions de La Nuit (2010)

La Photographie comme métaphore d’elle-même, L’Harmattan, part of the “Ouverture philosophique” series (2012)

Pour un voir en fuite, Éditions de La Nuit (2013)

Limons, Loco (2014)

La Photographie vue de dos, L’Harmattan, part of the “Ouverture philosophique” series (2015)