The darkness of reason

Publish date 07-09-2022

by Luca Periotto

The question is: can art fight war?
Apparently yes. To those who unleash senseless wars art and literature frighten as much and more than surface-to-air missiles.
It's history these days: one of these intellectual bombs - this time based on paint - was dropped in Naples by street artist Ciro Cerullo aka Jorit.
As a response to the decision taken by the Bicocca University of Milan which decided to cancel the course on the writer F. Dostoevskij, the Neapolitan artist painted the face of the Russian writer on the facade of a huge social housing block, not too different from those that are shown on TV in reports on Ukrainian cities devastated by bombing.
Putin himself, who saw the service broadcast on national Russian TV, commented with the word "hope", perhaps still too little to stop the bombing, but at least it is a beginning.

How can we forget the powerful Guernica, contemporary cornerstone of “Picassian” workmanship, a timeless masterpiece, vehicle of the tragedies that accompany wars such as the current invasion of Ukraine? Not to forget.
For two months I have been watching shapeless masses blackened by the explosions of bombs pass by, whether they are of lime, whether they are of flesh it does not matter: this is how we see the form of misfortune, which generates pity. The misfortune must be watched with open eyes, ignoring for once the exhortations of the conductors who invite the most sensitive to turn away, not to look: it must be done, precisely because the most sensitive have the duty to record for the sake of memory.

The dominant black of the crime scene reminded me of the work of the Chinese artist Liu Ruowang who made him famous at the Venice Biennale in 2010, The wolf series ( Wolves Are Coming), an installation that showed a series of blackened cast bronze, life-size wolves, positioned in packs in the aggressive act of barking at a crystal case that contained humanity's most precious asset, intelligence. which distinguishes us from the beasts, the light of reason which on that occasion was represented by a book, The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.

The great philosopher of Western thought was born in 1724 in Königsberg, which today is the current Baltic city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave nestled between Lithuania and Poland in full European territory where the headquarters of the Russian navy. An atomic arsenal that, if the light of reason were to go out, would obscure humanity with its nuclear warheads, just 500 km from Berlin.

© Luca Periotto 2022
NP May 2022

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