Region/Concept: West Europe, Myth (Vision)
Sub-Concepts: Miracle, Painting, Enchantment
Description: Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych “The Last Judgement” (1504-08) stands inconspicuously in the last room on the top floor gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, still emanating its power of attraction not just toward the mind of the curious viewer but also toward his or her body.
There are paintings that go beyond their frames. In fact, the narrative or form they provide within their borders is only secondary to the supplement, a metaphysical vitamin, that seeps out of it. Of course there is a technique of the master inscribed in the treatment of light and darkness, figures and shapes. But it is the vision which cuts through the image that counts the most. And the vision is always enigmatic; that is to say, it requires deciphering which no specialist knowledge of historical context or technique can reveal. There are some artists that provide a diagnosis of an entire “age” in which they live. Then there are few that go even further by carefully placing nothing short of a new form of life in their seemingly ordinary practice of painting. It is only then that their object (painting) becomes a collection of forces that goes far beyond their respective contexts. One will easily know which works generate this kind of power: in front of them one does not simply reflect, one levitates, now released from physical laws (gravity) just as the painting itself is released from the confines of art (it is now something else). Enchantment means experiencing the miraculous. All sharing of a vision in this respect is self-deception. And yet deception of this kind is intensification of the world; i.e. creation of something against which one can measure oneself. And is there anything more powerful than measuring oneself against the landscape of Hell, from which all sorts of beatitudes emerge?