Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 20, No. 1, 2021
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
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David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
Don Dewey
Howard Richler
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Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
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Jerry Prindle
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Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
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Charles Lewis
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Art and Immortality




Louis René Beres is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Law (Purdue University). He is author of many books and articles dealing with international politics. His columns have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post and OUPblog (Oxford University Press).

Art is the residue of vision.
Alberto Giacometti


"We are all bound together," observes the sculptor Dr. Gindi, "by the human question of origin and destiny." Accordingly, this talented German-Egyptian artist offers us work that is technically impressive and philosophically informed. Of signal importance in this welcome fusion is the primacy of an idea that centers on what is most unendingly important to us as humans.

This is the eternally captivating idea of power over death, or immortality.

Over the past fifty years, as a political scientist and professor of international law, I have come to at least one widely under-appreciated conclusion. This is that nothing is generally more important to individual human beings than not dying; that is, than living forever. Interestingly, it is plausible that this critical human objective is sometimes better revealed through art than through scholarship. Or to state this more accurately, it is an objective best revealed through art that can itself embody such learning.

It is with precisely such an orientation that I have been able to draw both aesthetic pleasure and intellectual insight from the work of Dr. Gindi. In "Transfigured Immortality" (bronze, 2020), a "Lady of Grace," increasingly aware of her worldly transience, is still able to muse about leaving a "trace," about achieving an immortality of the spirit if not a literal immortality of the flesh. Whatever a particular observer's actual mindset about any biological or physical human continuance, there is little to contest about humans achieving a sort of surrogate immortality, the kind of "living on" that may come with a single individual's personal fame and accomplishments.

Though it goes without saying that any such "secondary" immortality must prove less enduringly satisfying, it also remains our best realistic alternative.

In her 2020 bronze statue "Interstellar Dilemma," the artist Dr. Gindi seems to probe various overlapping and/or intersecting ideas, inquiring, inter alia, if there is possibility of "an Earth without the divine." At the most utterly evident or superficial levels, the answer is plain. After all, what can we conceivably conclude about humankind's perpetual search for religion, a search always dedicated in the final analysis to acquiring power over death. In the artist's own description of this intriguing bronze, "A foot and a hand are moving together, apart. Seemingly rooted in the here and now, we strive for distant elevation."

Toward what sorts of "elevation" is the observer being directed by Dr. Gindi? There can be no more important question raised by an artist, and it is a question that can never have a "correct" or "incorrect" answer. Here, Dr. Gindi uses her art not as an "objective" instrument of scientific assessment, but as a distinctly probing medium of metaphysics. By definition, of course, art can have no higher function than allowing its practitioners and its observers to query what is most "ultimately real."

A third work of this creative and philosophic artist that captured my imagination is her "Immanent Conception of Infinity." Exploring the "fabric of time and space," this fired clay sculpture (2017/2020) asks the following core question: "Can everything that exists have neither beginning nor end?" Significantly, whether in art or scholarship, this is a question not often encountered. Yet, it presents an intellectual and aesthetic challenge like no other, one so overwhelmingly primary and primal that it should be ignored by absolutely no one.

Much of Dr. Gindi's work seems to coalesce around the most urgent and fundamental themes of human existence, especially transience, immortality and infinity. To be sure, these are not easily graspable or simple themes, but it is precisely from their bewildering complexities and intersections that the art observer can draw both pleasure and understanding. Dr. Gindi is a visionary artist, and visionaries are what we need most of all. In this regard, we may usefully recall the astutely relevant comment of Italian film director Federico Fellini, "The visionary is the only realist."




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by Louis René Beres:
Trump Presidency: Triumph of Absurdity
Presidential Crimes and Pardons
Pandemic as Opportunity
Understanding a Lethal American Presidency
A Nation's Bitter Despair
The President as Monster
Lessons from Covid-19
The Overriding Threat: Trump, the Mass & Nuclear War
Fragmentation or Unity
A More Thoughtful Nuclear Policy
Are Terrorists Abnormal?
War, Politics and the Planet Earth
Intellect & Politics: Trumpian Opposites
Emptiness & Consciousness: Unseen Limits of American Mind
Trump and the Destruction of the American Mind
Empathy & Intelligence
The Crowd Is Untruth
In Praise of Folly: Trump Presidency
Repairing the World at Its Source
Emptiness and Consciousness
Nuclear Deterrence Conflict
Trump's Anti-Intellectualism
Lawless Retreat
Trump - Triumph of Anti-Reason
In the Absence of Wise Councel
Futile Goal of Winning Wars
Money & Politics: A Look Behind the News
Trump's War Against the Intellect
America Becomes What Its Founding Fathers Feared
Victory as Vanishing Point in the Age of Terror
Against a Nuclear-Free World
The Politics of Pre-emption
Crowds, Belonging and Victory Over Death
The Tip of the Jihadist Iceberg
Fixing the World
When Science May Not Be Enough
Facing future Wars
America's Senseless Wars
Is There a Genocide Gene?
Slow Death of America
To Fix a Broken Planet
Our Fractured Union
Affirming Life in the Age of Atrocity
War, Truth and the Shadows of Meaning
Occupy Wall Street
What Is Important?
Social Network Anxiety
Disappearance of the Philosopher Kings


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