26 December 2011
In Rilke’s, Elegies, he expresses the purpose of his work, “… Everywhere transience is plunging into the depths of Being… It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again, “invisibly”, inside us.” Again he says,” … oh to say them more intensely than the Things themselves ever dreamed of existing.” ( Elegies) To take the visible world and allow it to dwell inside of us and then to transform that world and those things in the most intense way and re-imagine them again is the work of the artist. The image becomes the process whereby the visible world finds its equivalent within our being. In this way the transient visible world is re-imagined through the artist and becomes a transformative force. Rilke, like Emerson, expresses the transcendent nature of all things. Emerson in his essay Nature states the purpose of, “… visual art: striking the viewer so deeply, with such authority, the merely personal is obliterated. Something like an archetypal self is evoked.”
It is easy to ignore the incredible Beauty of all things. “The purpose of art is to express the good, the true and the beautiful” as Dostoevsky expressed it. But Solzhenitsyn believed that possibly only beauty will remain. The artist’s job is to praise and declare again the inherent value of all things and to say it again with intensity.
“O tell us, Poet, what you do? – I praise.
But the dark, the deadly, the desperate ways,
How do you endure them- how bear them?-
Rilke, "Padraic Colum," 1945
Read the rest at Judith Reeve's site, Attentive Equations.