you think that art can actually be a mode of access to divine
but without constraint, without injunction.
This is the
is not obliged to share the motivation behind the composing,
even if there is for the creator a complete adherence of his
motivation to his composition.
And the music lover (amateur)
is not required to repeat his path.
Adherence here .is not in the order of
imitation of his motivation.
Let us take an in-between case: the Masonic tonality of
Figaro. One is in no way forced to share in this rationalistic
religiosity and follow
a path that is not his own.
I take this example from a theologian I admire, Karl
Barth, who would put Mozart above Bach.
Bach was intentionally religious, Mozart not.
But one can listen to Mozart with a fervor which will
reveal religious motivations in us.
In a certain way Bach constitutes the threshold of
religious aesthetics, bridgeable or not.
Kant himself had admitted another threshold, that of
ethics by way of the sublime.
In the sublime, our imagination is overcome by excess,
quantitative or dynamic, but we are sheltered, that is we
reaffirm our moral superiority faced with the superiority of
those forces which would destroy us if we were delivered over to
them. But one can
also say that an ethico-moral tonality is evoked by the
“Starry Sky Above.” The sublime also has a potentially
religious power, but not expressly, not necessarily.
Jankelevitch notes, in regard to music, another form of
threshold: that of
the mystery, of the inexpressible, which relates to the endless,
untiring, inexhaustible work of language to say what cannot be
said or said only by allusion, suggestion, allegory, or metaphor.
The musical mystery, he writes, is not the unutterable
but the ineffable. It
is the black night of death that is the unutterable, because it
is impenetrable shadow and despairing non-being, and because an
unbridgeable wall keeps us from its mystery:
it is unsayable in this respect, that there is absolutely
nothing to say, which renders man mute by crushing his reason
and paralyzing his
discourse. And the
ineffable, quite the reverse, is inexpressible because there is
something to say about it interminably,
infinitely: such as the impenetrable mystery of God, or
the inexhaustible mystery of love, which is the poetic
mystery par excellence. Do
you think that art is a way of reaching this frontier of the
unsayable or the ineffable, death, love, the mystical experience
and perhaps still other similar regions, which would underscore
the uchronic and utopic function of art?
ineffable has a character of incohesiveness, of
indifferenciation which is precisely surmounted by the work of
art. This latter is
structured otherwise than in language, but it is structured; and
in this sense each work of art has the singularity its
structure. In the
pages I devoted to the aesthetic experience at the end of Critique
and Conviction, I insisted above all on this singular
structured character, the fact that each work is the resolution
of a problem.. Here
one could take up again the analyses of Merleau-Ponty on Cezanne.
In painting the problem itself is singular: it is the
conjunction, in the same undertaking, of
color, form and light, and this combination is singular
each time. What
would appear to me to be ineffable, I would put not in each
painting, but in what has provoked it, namely, if
we take the example of Cezanne, in this permanent return
to the object of painting, as if there were something
inexhaustible in the saying.
There is a kind of tenacious approximation, in favor of
another perspective, another profile, different each time.
Thus the signified “Mount Saint-Victoire, if we might
say so, is a demand to signify more.
I would insist here on the ineffable command and the
effectuation that is singular each time.
This is an analysis that I found admirably done by
Granger with respect to the algebra of Pascal.
The proper name is the name of the singularity of the
resolution of the problem.
Here we find the initial affirmation:
this singularity of the resolution of a problem, which
brings a singular response to a singular challenge, is eminently
communicable. We compensate for the lack of universality of the
singular resolution of the problem by the communicability.
Here there is evidently a parallel with Kant when he
underscores that it is the game of understanding and imagination
that is communicable. And in the case of the solving of a
problem, we can say that it is the game of challenge and
faces, sketches, profiles, silhouettes in a temporal horizon of
perception? The work of art, then, would it be in Husserlian
terms rather on the side of the noematic correlate, on the side
of the transcendental, object, or on that of the noesis, on the
side of the intentionality of the subject; would it not finally
be this relation between object aimed at and the aim of the
object which could define the work of art?
would prefer to broach this question by way of its linguistic
equivalent, namely that a linguistics of a Saussurian type,
which is binary, does not work.
Signifier and signified are the heads and tails of
the sign. What
is needed is a semiotic of three terms:
signifier, signified, referent.
This is the demand for a referent that is not met by the