Poetic seeing in visual arts and theology : aesthetics as a spiritual and loving gaze within the human quest for meaning

Louw, D. J. (2015-09)

CITATION: Louw, D. J. 2015. Poetic seeing in visual arts and theology : aesthetics as a spiritual and loving gaze within the human quest for meaning. Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship, 80(1), Art.#2207, doi:10.19108/koers.80.1.2207.

The original publication is available at http://www.koersjournal.org.za

Article

A human being is essentially homo aestheticus and not in the first place homo faber. In the light of this basic assumption, it is argued that, due to poetic seeing, interconnectedness between art[1], spirituality and the human quest for meaning exists. It is virtually impossible to define art. However, in one way or another, art is connected to imagination, inspiration and creativity. Art probes into the realm of the unseen, thus the value of iconic seeing in visual arts. By means of art, objects are moved into imagination and connected to the ‘idea’ beyond the vision of phenomenological observation. Serious art probes into the dimension of the unseen; it makes the invisible, visible. Art deals inter alia with ‘signals of transcendence’ (Peter Berger)[2] and opens up new avenues for religious thinking and spiritual experiences. Serious art can thus contribute to the healing dimension of spiritual wholeness. Art can even assist theology in the reframing of existing God-images. In this regard, the notions of a Compassionate God and God as Covenantal Partner for Life, become appropriate alternatives for the imperialistic pantokrator-images (omni-categories) of theism.

Die mens is wesenlik homo aestheticus en nie in die eerste plek homo faber nie. In die lig van die estetiese funksie van ‘n poëtiese skoue kan ‘n netwerkverband tussen kuns, spiritualiteit en die mens se soeke na sin voorveronderstel word. Dit is basies onmoontlik om kuns finaal te definieer. Tog het kuns op een of ander manier te doen met ‘ver-beeld-ing’, inspirasie en kreatiwiteit. Kuns dring die sfeer van die onsienlike binne en ‘maak’ op ‘n skeppende wyse die onsienlike in objekte en visuele waarneming, sigbaar; dit werk heuristies en kreatief-ontdekkend; dit penetreer die sogenaamde ‘idee’ agter dit wat mens in die fenomenologie van waarneming ‘sien’. Kuns is in ‘n sekere sin ikonies en staan in verband met transendensie. Kuns breek brute werklikheid oop en is ‘n soort van venster vir sinvolle spirituele ervaringe en religieuse denke. Ernstige kuns kan beskou word as ‘n vorm van heling op die vlak van ‘spirituele gesondheid’ (wholeness). Die basiese hipotese is dat die visuele kunste teologie kan help om bestaande, geykte vorme van teologisering, te transformeer. So byvoorbeeld kan die imperialistiese pantokrator-idee van‘n ‘onveranderlike, teïstiese God’ (omni-kategorie) deur middel van religieuse estetika verskuif na die sensitiewe ‘Mee-lydende God’ (patos-kategorie): God nie as kousaliteitsbeginsel nie maar as Lewende Verbondspartner.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/99746
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