Will be curious, to say the least, that “Zeus is divinity with vices and human virtues”. Obviously, we humans have to make an effort to tell a story or legend that respects our understanding. How would fit in our heads that Zeus, Hera and Europe could relate to each other as they relate to irrational animals? To be explained and counted, they must resemble to us. In fact, everything man does, he does to his image. Prótagoras, Ancient Greece’s sophist, said that “man is the measure of all things, from the things that are, as they are and the ones which are not, while they aren’t”, that is, of course, if a glass is intended for the man to drink , it can not be his size, or, if we tell a story about gods to humans, the gods surely will have to acquire human characteristics. Relationship and scale are solid things that partly sustain the human understanding as it is.
The representation is a human characteristic, when we are born we imitate others and so we build our way of speaking and acting. The body is the thing that represents before being the object of representation. For Aristotle, the mimesis concept encompasses the imitation of the plausible in nature and this is the foundation of all art.
“The symbolic body dualism” in which the body is the visible and the soul is the invisible demystifies or mystifies the place of our aesthetic experience. Martin Heiddeger said “man builds to inhabit”, but when we build visually, that is, whenever we open our eyes; what do we build? What do we inhabit?
Being the soul what animates our body and one without the other are, presumably, of little worth to act, male and female are animated by opposite ways between each other and opposite to its body genre. There will be present in man a feminine inner personality called “anima” and there will be present in woman a masculine inner personality called “animus”. Maybe it matters at the time of artistic creation as well as the body matters at the moment of birth of a child. Drawing is a tool that serves to represent everything that exists and what doesn’t exist, but despite being consistent is too odd that what has motivated artistic creation to the present day has been the representation of ourselves. We have therefore the ability to look at ourselves and to each other.
In ancient Egypt, at the funeral moments of important figures, especially of pharaohs, were created portraits on wood that were placed along with the mummified and represented the eternal girlishness of the deceased. These Faiyum portraits were not to be seen, they represented the juvenility that belonged to that body and that was something that would disappear along with the body and the soul. However, the techniques used, as the tempera or the encaustic, and the conditions in which they were stored, along with the mummies, made them conserved for millenniums and satyed almost intact to this day.
The confrontation with reality is intensified when reality is ourselves: the self-portrait issue brings a dangerous and distressing path. A plunge into the depths of our eyes can cost our lifes, Rembrandt’s eternity, the so hard to achieve and appealing self-knowledge. The complex task to capture ourselves open us for what we are and what we can never be. To reach our invisible is only possible from the visible in a place where everything is representable.
Artistic creation walks toward an intentionality, the artist comes from nothing or from very, very small thing. During the process, the reasons and intentions must be intensified but left aside, the object must have the ability to refer without the backup of anything to be art. “Art shows itself transgressive and reflective, with the object’s adoration, by excess, by pain, by violence.”
Formerly, painting occupied the position of fight and pornography as many were the people who acquired objects such as these, not by aesthetic pleasure but on a whim. For many, art was a set of ideas that had to be respected. Those ideals were extremely important in the construction of art history, such as, for instance, the canon of Polykleitos, that indicates the proper proportions of the body representation, contributing to the increase of the aesthetic experience.
Later on, Le Courbusier’s Modulor confers a more practical character, by assigning right feet at constructions, according to the vast majority of the population’s size. The way we represent has been conceived and represented by the visual arts, architecture, music, dance, literature, theatre, cinema, and, although less or more mimetic, even tough it contains more abstraction or more hyper-realism, this is the way we have understood what we are and where we are.
From the gesture we were born and with gestures we make our days, the gesture is for us, but it also indicates to the other one, with a gesture one may kill, with a gesture one may love. To communicate it is necessary to gesticulate, to gesture one must be alive, or to have been. The symbolism of a gesture has to do with the field of understanding. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it is true when it comes to the meaning, but in fact the image of a gesture is just a gesture and a word is a collection of gestures that don’t interrupt themselves from the first to the last letter, whether spoken or written.
The two dimensions of man culminate in imagination and understanding, the natural that knows and acts upon himself. Is in the unleashing of questions that cover the body and the art that other questions trigger me, such as: are we really an enclosed form as we appear to be? Do body and soul have some distinction between them? Are we really able to not feel ourselves in order to feel others?
We don’t know how to represent ourselves, we know how to mime oursleves, we represent ourselves, by expanding ourselves and have already made our body object. What other ways to think about us may make us more human and make us understand better who we are and where we are?
The South is only true if we’re on Earth.