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Body and Soul By Noga Arikha

Conceived in pleasure and begotten in pain, the human animal is born naked like all other beasts. Much of the history of ideas about our condition is devoted to puzzling out the contrasts between the brutish constraints of our embodiment and our seemingly disembodied capacity to think, which projects us into abstract realms, away from our mortal, fragile, messy bodies. It is not enough that we can create mathematics, music, physics, and writing, in which bodily needs are silenced and sometimes transcended; we must also wonder about this very capacity. We are animals at once conscious, aware of finitude, and locked into corruptible flesh. 

The word flesh conjures the potency of sexual desire and the bitterness of decrepitude and finitude, the one limiting the other, in the eternal dance of Eros and Thanatos. Flesh is what Titian’s luminous, erotic nudes celebrate, but also what Lucian Freud’s thick paint unforgivingly depicts as garish. It is the miraculously transformed marble of the Greco-Romans, Michelangelo, Bernini, and Rodin. It is at the center of the aestheticized and grotesque sexuality of Edo-era Japanese prints and of the nightmare visions of contemporary horror movies. It is the sensuous mass of fat and muscle painted by Rubens, but also the carcasses lovingly depicted by Chardin. Flesh conjures skin both as smooth cover behind which entrails hide and as those actual entrails, desirable as food for carnivores, for flesh is also meat.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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