Hell isn’t the Other: About Conversations about Works of Art
(Reflection on Brilant Milazimi’s exhibition “One Ball for All”)
When a philosopher confronts any manifestation of a work of art, they enter into a conversation with the artwork and the artist, availing themselves of discursive devices for use in the conversation. I am no exception. Ab initio, from the outset, I will make use of these devices to share my review, though without an authoritative claim, as in intermediating between the aesthetic experiences that a viewer might have when confronted with the works of this artist.
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger says that a work of art has the function of “setting-in-work of truth”, which can be further extended into the idea that the work of art presupposes its exhibition as an event establishing the inauguration of its being. Only those events hold truths that are extracts of forms of life, which becomes manifested in the aesthetic experience of Brilant’s chart.
The work “Did they tell you something?” begins the exhibition and sets the context of the event, where under the guise of a question, larvatus prodeo, hides the conflict between internal impulses and external norms. The work’s character unfolds at the point of intersecting the agonies of the being’s immobility/motionlessness. This work narrates the context of the artist’s life – the circumstances that string us together to the cosmos in which we are only but a speck yet our own stories greatly unsettle us. The question puts forward and exposes a truth whose only answer seems to be agony.
The work of art not only has the function of exposing an event but also of opening up new perspectives on the lifeworld (Lebenswelt). The exhibition's titular work, "One Ball for All," seems to offer a new perspective by broadening our horizons about the lifeworld. It inscribes a character of inclusion that is manifested, in the end of the day, through a game. When playing, we take it as a gift to share our existence with someone else. The other, as presented in the artwork, is not hell, as presupposed by certain philosophical theories. On the contrary, the exhibition provides an alternative through openness for acceptance, linking existence with belonging together or being-together-of-existences. Briliant's artwork, in all its sociopolitical cacophony, offers the hope that follows playing, and the game of life in his work inaugurates a new perspective. To use the vocabulary of Martin Heidegger, we are not only grounded in being (Sein) but also in being-with (Mitsein).
Another aspect is how Brilant’s work “Participating in our happiness” highlights the plasticity of life. The artwork portrays a transparent society as an uncovering of being, where transparency is manifested as a society of spectacles, complementing the isolation of authenticity with life's plastic progression. Happiness comes as a provoking metaphor for disclosing a deep feeling of nausea. Plastic happiness is imagistic happiness that becomes manifest through techno-scientific apparatuses. Everyone is engrossed in this vortex of images, which has now assumed a psychotherapeutic role, intending to cure all anxieties through a display of videological transparency. Everyone is a happy participant in the other's display and downfall, which is also the work's intertext.
Brilant’s work has a trilateral character: the exposure of an event as the inauguration of existence, narrative as the portrayal of the history of the place where being is manifested, and opening up new perspectives relative to the life world. This triad functions as an aesthetization of existence, manifesting either as ecstasy or as excess. While it may be expected to define the forms of movement or style to which Brilant’s work belongs, I will leave that to the art theorists and curators. Instead, I will remain loyal to this conversation, which displays the truth of being in the world through art. By not expressing a specific postulation, this review aligns with the premise that if life and being have no genre, then neither do Brilant’s artworks.