To the Unknown Helper #32: Finale

Finale – The only philosophy which would still be accountable in the face of despair, would be the attempt to consider all things, as they would be portrayed from the standpoint of redemption. Cognition has no other light than that which shines from redemption out upon the world; all else exhausts itself in post-construction and remains a piece of technics. Perspectives must be produced which set the world beside itself, alienated from itself, revealing its cracks and fissures, as needy and distorted as it will one day lay there in the messianic light. To win such perspectives without caprice or violence, wholly by the feel for objects, this alone is what thinking is all about. It is the simplest of all things, because the condition irrefutably call for such cognitions, indeed because completed negativity, once it comes fully into view, shoots [zusammenschiesst] into the mirror-writing of its opposite. But it is also that which is totally impossible, because it presupposes a standpoint at a remove, were it even the tiniest bit, from the bane [Bannkreis] of the existent; meanwhile every possible cognition must not only be wrested from that which is, in order to be binding, but for that very reason is stricken with the same distortedness and neediness which it intends to escape. The more passionately thought seals itself off from its conditional being for the sake of what is unconditional, the more unconsciously, and thereby catastrophically, it falls into the world. It must comprehend even its own impossibility for the sake of possibility. In relation to the demand thereby imposed on it, the question concerning the reality or non-reality of redemption is however almost inconsequential.

TW Adorno, Minimal Moralia (Reflections on Damaged Life), 1948

The painting is finished in the sense that most of it will never catch up with the apex of intensity in the Helper’s face. In my next painting I need to take greater care in the Grisaille phase.

Edward G. Nilges, “To the Unknown Helper”, 14 August 2010 amdg. Acrylic on canvas, 50×60

Edward G. Nilges, “To the Unknown Helper”, detail, 14 August 2010 amdg. Acrylic on canvas, 50×60

Edward G. Nilges, “To the Unknown Helper”, detail, 14 August 2010 amdg. Acrylic on canvas, 50×60

Many thanks to the following people whose advice on this work was invaluable: Supriti, Liz, British Clare, Chinese Clare, Jenny, Greg, Kieran, and others I may have forgotten. Thanks also to John Diehl of Diehl Art for earlier encouragement. Thanks also to Nancy for support and help at various times.

Thanks also to Phil the Northern man for various introductions.

Thanks, as well, to Global Artist Elizabeth Briel for her invaluable support starting with her courageous intervention in an online “flame” war on a cheesy site to assist my return to the art vortex.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam 14 Aug 2010.

To my children.


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