Reuven Rubin and Why Self Writes This Blog

A Fed-Ex package came for self a few days ago, and when she opened it, it turned out to be a book of the art of Reuven Rubin.  There was a card:  one of self’s brothers in the Philippines had sent it.  The card says:  “Mom bought this book for you when we were in Israel.”  Self sees again:  Ichilov Hospital, Ying, Bialik Street.  She feels the strangeness of knowing that Ying is not there.  She remembers September 11:  while everyone commemmorated 9/11 here, Ying was passing away peacefully, no one in the room with her but a nurse.

The book’s title is Dreamland:  Reuven Rubin and His Encounter with the Land of Israel in His Paintings of the 1920s and 1930s.

Oh!  self thinks.  Oh, oh, oh.

The foreword is by someone named Mordechai Omer.  Omer describes the response of German artist Joseph Beuys to a question about his “process.”  Beuys had apparently stated that he “does not represent the external aspect of things, but rather the internal processes,” and the questioner had asked for clarification.  Beuys’ response:

The soul is not just an essence that exists within us; it also exists in the external world —  people are not imprisoned within their soul, which is constrained by bodily limits.  We tend to see the body and soul as two different categories, and imagine the soul as an essence that exists deep within us; yet it also has an external existence . . .  I mean to say that there is a visible world and there is a world that is concealed from the eye.  To this invisible world belongs all that is below the threshold of perception —  intensities and the relations between them, forms and the relations between them, energy and its effects.  This world also contains what we call ‘the internal life’ and which we are accustomed to seeing as existing ‘within’ ourselves.  A person’s interior isn’t circumscribed by his skin, nor is it located under the stomach or between the ribs and the kidneys, or in any other defined place.  The soul is a component of the external world, which nevertheless remains invisible . . .  The truth is, that it is the only element that contains the entire universe.”

And self wanted to say something about how writing this blog puts her squarely in the external world, for she uses it to describe her perceptions —  all of her perceptions, whether it be about food or places or people.  But it asserts her independence of all these things, too.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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