Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Futile and Hopeless Labor

Detail of Sisyphus (1920) by Franz von Stuck

I figured that we would start our countdown to the upcoming TAM exhibit, "Between the Knowing", by considering one of the classic works of Existentialism, Albert Camus' Myth of Sisyphus, which opens with the memorable lines:

"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor."

As a metaphor of life, this myth has a powerful resonance. With such hardship and pointlessness, how can one persevere? How can one continue to live without the glimmer of hope? But Camus reverses expectations; since one does live without hope and without meaning, then one is free to accept the struggle of Life as it is, as an absurd but unavoidable certainty.

And so, Camus concludes:

"I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

With that in mind, let's take a look at a video by Sara Ramo, one of the featured artists of the upcoming show:

Oceano Possivel (2002)

"Between the Knowing" opens on Saturday, April 14th. We're looking forward to seeing you at the TAM!!!

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