Thomas Ruff ‘Sterne’ – Grand Design, Unknowing Darkness

It suggests that the first “thing” or structure to deploy God’s image as creator is that of an “unknowing”, a design for which, he had to create its anti-thesis.

 

By Brad Feuerhelm, ASX, May 2015

Sterne is something of a conjecture in the cartography of the heavens. It is perhaps an anti-empirical look into what it might feel like to map the heavens through our miniscule observation platform of earth. The joke of which, is to render the cosmos grandiosity into printable form, no matter how oversized and beautifully printed this tome by Morel Books is.

There was darkness before the light within the Judeo-Christian genesis of the world. It suggests that the first “thing” or structure to deploy God’s image as creator is that of an “unknowing”, a design for which, he had to create its anti-thesis. If we start with this grand unknowing of what we may consider darkness to that of light, it is with little difficulty that the projection of the human mind centers its balance to the light being the successor to that of its opposite. It is as if to say within the proxy of darkness, we may disassemble its being or “thing-ness” into that of absence, which in its failure of “presence”, resounds a striking crack of a razor-edged whip across the back of human thought, where light, is the measure for which we seek to abscond from that of our origins of darkness. This in principle is not such a small thought when we digest what the darkness of the cosmos gives to us from our gravitated observational deck of the earth.

 

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It is as if to say within the proxy of darkness, we may disassemble its being or “thing-ness” into that of absence, which in its failure of “presence”, resounds a striking crack of a razor-edged whip across the back of human thought, where light, is the measure for which we seek to abscond from that of our origins of darkness.

 

In Ruff’s Sterne, we see darkness pinpricked by the same light that reaches us from vast stretches of dark heavenly ocean to that of our eyes. It is often that perhaps we forget that through this darkness of the cosmos that the light travels to reach us first. Perhaps we disavow this sacred meaning for that of sheer humanized ego. We cannot possibly absorb the gift of light as passing through that of darkness, its enveloping matter to truly acquaint ourselves with the theological beginnings of shared scripture. In this vast accounting of the heaven’s, we seek to understand and quantify, in error it could be argued, these small pinpricks of light…the stars, the galaxies, the considered geometry of position of such to give us a fixity in our small miniscule lives. It is as if by seeing through the veil of darkness, we begin to master, through the positioning of light, a fixity that transcends the darkness that envelops everything. Sterne then, or any tract that focuses of our place in the cosmos, is in the simplest form, a failure that we cannot see. If we believe in a system of origins as detailed by written theological history, then we are in effect contradicting the potential for this origin by our incessant interest in the matter of light. Ruff’s journey is as if almost to say, “Look, here is where we may comfortably stand in the vastness of the unknown, fixed by the tiny pinpricks of light transmitted to our phenomenological insistence on matter transcending that of darkness”. It is a cruel joke, but it carries forward the human folly of issues concerning absence/presence in the canon of our histories, therefore rendering it a perfect tome for the folly of human imagination crafted from systems of universal “knowing” within our culturally produced theological roots. These follies, we must remember, have the same theological roots that dubbed Lucifer, the “lightbringer”.

Thomas Ruff
Sterne
Morel Books

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(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Thomas Ruff.)

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