Artist: Eric Baudelaire
Curator: Pascal Beausse
October 14 – November 13, 2015
Here it is rather Hegel’s words describing revolutionary Terror that ring truer than ever: their liberation and revolution ideal was nothing but an ideal devoid of content, without mediation, a confusion between images and reality, feelings and reason, deprived of all feeling and all dialectical thought, which could only lead to “the most cold-blooded and meaningless death,” in reality as well as in images. In other words, the Lod attack and the whole associated story of the Japanese Red Army are not intolerable for aesthetic or moral reasons, but because they stem from a political sensibility and mindset that are essentially impatient. Indeed, as Hegel showed persuasively, beyond all morality, impatient sentimentality is the absolute worst political fault, much worse even than patient, well-considered Machiavellian cruelty. It is a disaster for the mind, taking the apparently highest and most generous thought of universality and reducing it to the most insignificant particularity. And it is also a disaster for the body, reduced at worst to the level of an obstacle without importance, at best to the level of an image without real content.
As true as Hegel’s judgment may seem, it is not necessarily wholly adequate for today’s world. First, because he could only formulate it after the event, from the perspective of a subsequent reconciliation between abstract freedom and concrete moral community, specifically the Empire, then the Hegelian constitutional state. But which subsequent reconciliation enables us to speak of those terrorist attacks of the 1970s? What have the Palestinian question and the chances for peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict become if not an endless despair? What has terrorism become today if not a sinister profession of the future? And if the revolutionary perspective has been discredited by bloody, loathsome acts, what has become of the thought on its underlying causes – oppression, inequality, poverty, exploitation?
Second, and most importantly, because Hegel claims to fully understand the terrorist act. That fury of abstract universality has a determined place in his system as a pause in the life of the spirit which must be overcome. Yet who can really claim to understand terrorism, no longer of the State but by various splinter groups? Claiming to fully understand it amounts to either condemning or excusing it, that is, contenting oneself to judge and therefore not really understanding anything at all.
Anabasis of Terror: Trying (Not) to Understand by Pierre Zaoui
French artist born in 1973, Eric Baudelaire explores the narrative possibilities of documentary. Exhibition of the National Fund of Contemporary Art in Paris organized by SPAȚIU INTACT in partnership with the French Institute Cluj-Napoca.