The Sun of Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (Luke 12:49)
The author started working on a project of uniting discourses of ethics and aesthetics within the space of modern culture a decade ago and thus realized the importance of experience of orthodox Christian culture which has been successfully using them both together for two millennia already; this turn led to the theme of Heaven’s Kingdom, or its image, The Transfiguration of the Lord.
Orthodox Christianity worldview differs from other worldviews: it perceives the World as a place that was once united altogether as God’s good creation. Ethics and aesthetics aren’t opposite in such a world, but rather united as well. Beauty can’t be alienated from salvation (Fyodor Dostoyevsky), just like body and soul can’t suffice alone in the discourse of beauty (Anton Chekhov) etc. As saying goes, Не lives long that lives well, or Fair words break no bones.
All these definitions are naturally derived from orthodox “look for the resurrection of the dead”, bodily resurrection (Nikolay Fyodorov). This intention is not about opposition of ethics and aesthetics but rather about the opposition of life (beauty) and death (ugliness).
According to Basil the Great, “That which is set in motion by the Holy Spirit becomes an eternal movement, living and holy; when the Spirit comes to dwell in a man, he who was previously only earth and dust receives the dignity of a prophet, an apostle, and an angel of God.”
Life isn’t just given once and for all; it’s a process of ethically-aesthetic creating the heaven’s Kingdom in a worldwide liturgy. Even the measure of salvation, the quality of transfiguration depends on people themselves: how far they go, how well they do it.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” – these words are close to the promise of Christ: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12) – activity is defined as a godly value left to people (Svetlana Semyonova).
The Heaven’s Kingdom comes as a quintessence of God-Human process of theosis of the world, a union of the Truth, the Goodness, and the Beauty.
The Lord has spoken a lot on God’s Kingdom, the Heaven’s Kingdom, which has to replace the kingdom of this world, the natural law of existence, built on total devourment, death, gender schism, bad infinity of generations born and driven away.
“…Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14). “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him” (Luke 8:1).
He told that one has to search the kingdom of God within oneself. He told people parables giving at least subtle images of the kingdom of heavens through earthly similes: to instruct, who enters it and who can’t. Those speeches were both comforting and warning.
And then the time came and the Lord said to His disciples: “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1).
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him” (Matthew 17:1-3). (fr. Vyacheslav Reznikov).
About The Art project.
The Art project "Sun of Truth, Goodness and Beauty" is the result of long reflections of the author about the growing crisis of humanity in modern overseculiar society
and a clear awareness of the necessity for some kind of religious culture of the Renaissance, able to withstand the inevitable looming inhuman (post-human) of the global techno-civilization upon us. Indeed, Enemy is at the Gates!
1. My land. Video installation.
Just another reminder about our world, laying in dust and staying on dust. Dust to dust. Weep, and with tears lament when with understanding I think on death, and see how in the graves there sleeps the beauty which once for us was fashioned in the image of God, but now is shapeless, ignoble, and bare of all the graces (John of Damascus).
A video on a flat screen lying on the floor or on a pedestal: it demonstrates endless sinking in the ground, consisting of late ancestors. Each particle, when zoomed in, reveals it’s built of the ancestors’ ancestors, and so on.
2. Name of God. Multimedia installation.
An attempt to describe the indescribable meta-name of God through collecting all names of God used in the Bible. This Name can’t be read or written; one is only able to see It like an image of verbal space of God who is The Word. The Church Fathers call the Name of God a key to the gates of heaven.
By this Name hath the world been converted, the tyranny dissolved, the devil trampled on, the heavens opened. (John Chrysostom)
The names of God, including the sacral tetragrammaton, are mere symbolic projections of transcendent to immanent, are mere touches of the God, are sun rays that cast away darkness like lightning, they dazzle a man and allow no closer look. They are schematic imprint of Godly in human. (archfr. Sergiy Bulgakov)
The very word “Orthodoxy” contains an idea of constant glorification of god. Orthodox hymns and prayers always include glorification of the Name of God, be it morning, daily, or evening services. For instance, the second morning prayer of Matins ends with the following phrase: “For blessed and glorified is your all-honoured and majestic name, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.”
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelation 3:12)
“…he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” (Revelation 19:12)
“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)
“And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” (Matthew 12:21)
“In my name shall they cast out devils”. (Mark 16:17)
“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9)
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)
The composition made of God’s name in this visual-poetic installation is subject to constant changes in real time, no repeats ever.
Notice. I’ve read several comments from people who’ve never actually saw the work: they elaborated on the commonplaceness of using “cloud of tags.” I have to say that the graphical design of the work was completed in 2003 when the Internet was totally “cloudless”. The first cloud of tags online appeared on Flickr in 2004. Hence, formally, the priority of invention is mine. My tags turned out to be poetic. Since all the Names of God are equal, I’ve made them appear to be of the same length. As the result, the simpler Name is (the less sounds it has), the more weight it appears to have.
3. Transfiguration. Video projection on a wall (the screen), a virtual (miraculous) sculpture of the Transfiguration of Christ. God, who wished to organize this world, is the light itself for His eternal creatures, and nothing else; There is no necessity in a different light to those who have the greatest. (Gregory Nazianzen).
4. Sun of Truth, Goodness and Beauty. Images of the same sculpture, visible simultaneously from three sides (the image of the Transfiguration of Golgotha according to the words: the place of the skull has become Paradise), forming a round dance - a dance which from ancient times symbolized the Sun.
Gor Chahal. Moscow, 2003.