Watercolour and ink on paper, 76 x 56cm, 2017
The artist can be interpreted in terms of Hegel’s proposition that man is ‘the insistent accident’. This proposition is predicated on two models of subjectivity, the Greek and the Christian which in turn are predicated on the relation of essence and accident. In the Greek model, via habit accident becomes essentialised. Habit substitutes an immediacy posited by nature with one posited by the soul, so-called ‘second nature’, resulting in an ‘exemplary individual’. The Christian model is the accidentalisation of essence. God, the infinite, accidentalises Himself in the process of divine kenosis, alienating His infinite Self in the incarnation of His son, the finite Jesus. In this negation of Himself, He gives Himself finite being, He predicates Himself. Jesus’s resurrection is the negation of this primordial kenotic negation and Jesus is the example God gives humans of the speculative relief of the infinite and finite, the essential and the accidental. The drive of understanding is a bit like the speculative movement. Understanding was restricted to finitude under Kant’s God, the Jewish God. Kant’s notion of the transcendental imagination is proof of this restriction. This was predicated on the fact that understanding and reason are separate instances of thought and therefore cannot enter in unison into experience. Under Kant’s God, and prior to Hegel’s, the synthesis of a priority and a posteriority could only be imagined by the transcendental imagination.
The artistic imagination thinks constantly in terms of Parousia, of the reconciliation of the divine (the infinite) and the human (the finite). Parousia is the Second Coming of God and the reconciliation promised by Jesus to man. Jesus gave man the task of assisting in the realisation of this promise, He gave man the Labour of the Concept which is the unrestricting of thought from the a priori and a posteriori instances, from their extension, and positing in their place an intuitive understanding which can be a priori and a posteriori without extension i.e. simultaneously. The same as the transcendental imagination of Kant’s God.