OUR COLUMNIST AVILA REFLECTS ON MY REVIEW OF WOOL’S SHOW AT THE GUGGENHEIM:
‘It doesn’t look like it, but this post represents a very importan subject in the artworld. Today, the association between artists and inmortality resides in… the lack of goals. When a painting doesn’t represent a especific idea; when a painting is vague; when the content of a painting is… vulgar and posseses everyday connotations used for millions of people, then it has the capability to be reinterpreted for succesive generations of individuals, if and only if, the artistic tendencies absorved for those generations continue repeating similar characteristics… For example:
Some of the oldest remains that have been found in Egypt by archeologists are about 12,000 years old, showing traces of the use of bitumen, proving that those early inhabitants of the Nile valley were trying to preserve their dead by means of mummification. The absence of transformation and movement (ideas in our contemporary artworld) by keeping the bodies after their deaths as perfect as possible was engraved on their minds. They believed in the resurrection of the spirit, which included the preservation of a body to assert that a particular individual existed, which led to a monumental tradition of procuring places for the dead.
Generally their lives were short, and probably hard lived. It is not surprising that the Egyptians showed more interest in the afterlife, surrounded by an asphyxiating religion that protected and perpetuated the dominion of few individuals over the rest. For them, spending eternity in heaven had more value than two or three dozen years on Earth. In particular, the construction of funerary buildings and temples resulted essential on Egypt‘s society. The time and effort that it took to erect and excavate in the rock those monuments represented an important part of the Egyptian economy, since many people’s livelihoods depended on those projects. Here we have an example of coordinated religion, politics and tradition working in the same direction to sustain the kingdom for thousands of years. The complexity of their polytheistic system ensured by the priests, required wars, invasions, slaves, and lots of gold to continue their singular stimulus package based on having a society dedicated to the cult of death and resurrection.
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