As the philosopher Robert Ginsberg reminds us, the familiar world is surcharged with the experience of simple materials.
But “As we wander, we do not pause to wonder before a stone, piece of wood, or pile of earth. Mere materials. Yet they underlie the world.” In the spontaneous moment, when a broken sculpture releases an ordinary object from its duties to be what it is not, we might become alert to the delight of our own ordinariness.
“The matter in the ruin finds a sympathetic audience in the sophisticated animal rarely aware of its make-up. The ruin bares what is hidden in ourselves. So, we take pleasure in the harmless encounter.”
We strive to make things right. Yi-Fu Tuan notices it vacuuming the carpet: this satisfaction of “neat swathes of flattened fibers, when I look at a cleanly typed page, when the plowman strives to produce a straight furrow, or the carpenter looks at the joints in his woodwork with a sense of pride.”
Ariel Schlesinger’s sculptures provoke the philosopher to leave us with this: an “insight / in sight / in site / in cite / incite: The brokenness of the world is heartbreaking. But even a broken heart can be mended. That is the first step in redeeming the world.”