I am – this way

 Posted by at 11:24 pm  Anti-Gravity Surgery, OUT in the WILDERNESS  Comments Off
Dec 072015
Kali Yantra151

I noticed the phrase last week. It was on the landing above the stairs which lead down to the two yoga rooms in the basement. In the Yoga studios where I had also signed myself up for in central London: A month of classes for £45. What a deal, I thought.

Several sentences intended to be inspirational had been stencilled on various of the white walls of the studios. And among them this phrase on the landing: ‘I am – this way’.

It was here that I was going to be upended and scraped back to the original me. It was exciting to begin with.

Then after a few days perhaps to be peeled back even further to before the original. Back to before the bones even. Back to the gneiss –  as in: ‘the ancient gneisses of the Lewisian Complex‘ – the oldest rock to be found on earth.

Because at dinner on Saturday night somebody was talking about how he worked with this particular kind of ancient rock. Gneiss. He was a sculptor artist and he explained how working in the West Highlands and Outer Hebrides he scraped back the surface soil to find the rock just below. To reach the roots, as he put it.

Scraped back and upended, like the island to the west over whose hills I had watched the skies catch fire with the spectacular sunsets of late summer as a child. These were the same hills which were created when the mantle melted and the central volcano erupted 60 million years ago bringing back to the surface both the successively metamorphosed and recrystallised, and the gneiss, the oldest rocks of more than 8,000 million years ago.

Suddenly I felt overexposed.

Dec 022015

Terry Eagleton, in his new book, Culture and the Death of God, writes: ‘in [Hegel's] view, art  blends the will with spontaneity, the conscious mind with the unconscious. As such, it offers a precious insight into the very ground of our being, namely the unconscious process of self-productivity which is Nature as a whole. The human subject is a form of self-conscious production; but this self-fashioning is also its way of participating in the world’s perpetual conjuring of itself into existence . . . ‘

And a little later:

‘The objective world,’ Schelling writes, ‘is simply . . . The unconscious poetry of the spirit’.

Frank Auerbach knew this. I don’t whether he studied the German idealists, but when I saw, better to say, studied Auberbach’s work at Tate Britain a few days ago, and then in reading Eagleton’s use of these words of Hegel and Schelling, I seem to see in Auerbach’s work what they are talking about. Those thick layers of pigment, the inspired brushwork . . . The world is self-creating. And interestingly I discovered the Terry Eagleton book in the shop at Tate Britain after having worked through the exhibition and drank coffee and indulged in good conversation. Indulged? Indulged in a piece of work combined with the pleasure of sharply contoured conversation.