ABOUT HERMENEUTIC PAINTING

 

 

 

 

Hermeneutic painting is not "another way of painting" in the sense of a stylistic tendency or of a new contemporary avant-garde "trend", but it is another way of conceiving art: a way that gives visual art a revealing function of the Being in the way this is intended by hermeneutic philosophy (Jaspers, Heidegger, Gadamer, etc.).

The horizon of the Being within which moves the hermeneutic thought of the twentieth century shines, in fact, in every part of the existing, both in our personal existence, in our universe and in our world (what Heidegger calls “Da-sein”, or "Being-in-the-world”). So the most real and genuine sense about ourselves and the many things that objectively surround us must be searched not only on the rational logical plan, but first of all through the personal interpretation we give to ourselves and to things through our imagination and our feelings, opening up to the language of Being and accepting its signifiability as a proposal of an always-ultimate and never-ultimate truth.

In this way the hermeneutic approach to the truth may be everything but dogmatic or metaphysic in the most traditional sense of these words.

 

According to this, hermeneutic painting offers the viewer a signifiable language revealing the Being. It is open to the game of personal interpretation, which confers to the image a dynamic sense as well as it confers an equally dynamic sense to the viewer.

In other words, there is no more a passive viewer, confronted to a descriptive image of a fact or of a thing, all intent on capturing the idea or the story the artist wanted to propose through his work, but rather a viewer called to interpret the image with his own culture, his own experience, his own innocence, making it become a "fact" or a "thing" within his own conscience and in the horizon of his own existence. So the Being, which is the universal root of our existing, shines in the “being-here-and-now” of the subject, extending his limits and projecting his sense in an endlessly transcending dimension.

 

It is obvious that without the free participation of the viewer to the interpretation of the image, the meaning of hermeneutic art language would result in an absolute “nothing”. But, on the other hand, hermeneutic art language allows those who want it, to get out of that "nihilism" that fills the contemporary culture and, above all, the contemporary visual art.

 

The concept of “figure” (cifra) is fundamental for both hermeneutic philosophy and visual hermeneutic art. Every language whose intention is to reveal the Being must indeed escape the conventional bounds, i.e. the limits of the “ultimate” significations. What in metaphysical-religious tradition is proposed as " Logos" or as "Verb", is in fact the language at its origin: the one born as silence and that from silence gives source to the "Word”.

A really creative language, therefore, must propose itself on the existing plan just as an encrypted language (a language of “figures”) . Only in this way the “figures of Being” are open to signification by senses and reason, leaving the interpreter being free to translate them into "symbols" or "words” even if, doing so, they risk to fall again in the narrowness of the dogmatically ultimate significations.

The language of art, however, and in particular the language of a visual art proposing itself as hermeneutic, is much less exposed to such a risk. Its proposals, in fact, are “poetic” proposals of an intellectual and emotional signification and possess within themselves the ability to preserve their "figures” perpetually open to new significations.

Art, in fact, puts together the many contradictions of the human spirit carrying them towards their fullness and their irrational beauty without any cancellation. For this reason hermeneutic painting will never be dogmatic in its proposals, even if it allows great part of the viewers to see in its language their cultural-religious dogmas.

 

From a formal point of view, in the end, Hermeneutic painting reveals in every part of its language the continuous dyalectics between dark and light, round and edgy, grey and colour, abstract and concrete, which are indeed the truest and the most disquieting structure of our existential building. Both spiritual and physical .

 

 

 

 

An additional note

 

Hermeneutics, both on philosophical and artistic level, has nothing to do with what is commonly referred to as "gnosis".

The first claims a relation with the transcendent (in particular in Jaspers's thought) which has the characteristic of a mystical relationship (mainly in Heidegger ), or of a true “gift of God” (as in Marcel's spiritualist existentialism, very close to the Christian vision of existence). Gnosis, instead, at least that kind of gnosis that Ennio Innocenti (theologian) calls “spurious” to distinguish it from the "pure" one which is lit by grace, has no needs for a transcendent dimension which reveals itself, but rather pretends to reach or to create it through rationally constructed methods (even when it comes to the so-called magical or esoteric practices).

The "spurious" gnosis elaborates a language of "pre-built symbols”. Hermeneutic, or "pure" gnosis, opens itself to the gift of the "figure": to the silent language which originates the word.