Gallery Talk and Reception: Geheimnis

Gallery Talk and Reception: Geheimnis

About Geheimnis

"In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable - which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live." -Gilead, Marilynne Robinson)

Geheimnis started out as a visual exposition on Ecclesiastes, but has evolved into a sort of deeper exploration of creaturehood and mortality. 

The title comes from the Brahms Requiem, Movement 6, or more accurately, Luther's translation of 1 Corinthians 15:51: "Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis." Behold, I show you a secret (mystery). As I've wrestled with the questions of Ecclesiastes and its central word, הֶבֶל (hevel), I've been continually confronted by my limited nature. Hevel literally means vapor, smoke, or breath. There is so much about life that is hevel: we can glimpse it for a moment, but not grasp it. It is elusive. There is so much about ourselves and our very natures that is hevel. To gaze deeply on ourselves often only muddies the waters, because we see with an incomplete vision. 

I am the creature, not the creator. My life is given to me. I cannot reach for it in the way it seems that I can. The moment I think I have it figured out, I realize that I am not even close. 

So much of the book of Job wrestles with creaturehood, and since it is a central part of the wisdom literature in the bible as a whole, I will be studying it as well. I have been profoundly influenced by Ephraim Radner's book, A Time to Keep, and he makes connections and verbalizes these concepts in ways I have found richly inspiring and helpful. My last resource is John Donne's Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, which I believe is an incredible personal exercise that reveals a believer confronting his limited nature by wrestling with God through art, preaching, and prayer when he is lying upon what he believes to be his death bed.”

Kelly Kruse

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