The guide led the group through the gallery, from the second level to the third.
She led them toward the highlight exhibit.
Her speech went as follows:
We’ve had only a brief look at all the medieval and Renaissance art on the second floor. Some of it is quite minor, a few nice pieces. But it is all images (models) that have an absolute value (a presumed, external model of the model, a meta-model), prescribed — or assumed — by the Church-God regime. In terms of subjectivity, this absolute metamodel includes a notion of viewing-subject-as-worshipper that is just as prescriptive as any.
But now we have ascended to the third floor, and this is where the gallery’s most prized works are kept — the impressionist paintings that once were seen as so revolutionary but now, perhaps, to our image saturated culture today, seem rather twee and kitsch. Just fuzzy pleasant pictures of 19th century Parisian bourgeois life and dotted pastel landscapes.
Have a look at the landscape by Claude Monet for starters. Why exactly is this work revolutionary?
In the darkness of my garden there are sparks of light
That flicker before me like embers.
Entraced, I reach out to touch them
But I am weak and they cannot be grasped.
In the darkness of the night, those eternal points
That constitued the psyche’s fabric for our audacious ancestors
Alternate in appearance through the interlinked tesselations
Of wafting patchwork imaginary clouds.
And tonight those archetypes are broken apart,
Are a pollen of poetry, a sweet fragrance gently caressing my mortality,
Descending upon my darkened station
In my garden within this stilled, silent city.
And I breathe the realisation: the night garden is Deity deconstructed and made cellular,
it is poetry imbibed, it is my clothing of mind.
My soul so signed, I am confounded by a kiss:
For now I observe a lantern ahead of me,
Its light refracted through the interlinked tesselations
Of tree branches outstretched, counterposed, contrasted, mythically mine against blackness and light
In illuminated duality.
Is my love so raised in station that I might in blasphemy assume
The robe of the Prophet
And rejoice to the world in hutba
The miracle of our meeting?
That I might write a book of theology,
An entire philosophy of code
Of living life in symbolic literalness. Unfolds
All this fire of intellect: kindled by your body’s touch!
And now I gather arms, and dream of revolution
Enter the sphere of rhetoric and the depths of a psychic politics
And raise an army
To fight in the name of Love, which my comrades understand as abstract Ideal, and for this Ideal follow my persuasion.
My speech, so inspired, empassions them to wage Jihad for Love, though it be merely words unrequited!
Let there be no confusion, because time withers all Empire to dust
But this Love I recognize alone in you, my ainalyen.
And I stop tonight and pause a moment, catch my breath before I re-enter the fray: what wine of madness did you pour for me
That night in China?
What wine of insanity was it, so drunk that I declared shahada,
As we lay naked together, in union of each other’s stolen souls?
It was, is and will be eternally, the intoxication of your perfection’s charm:
Those lips meeting mine, desire apparent in these bounteous lines
Made manifest my wildest fantasy, I map entire your fertile curves, frantic, eating, drinking you in, as a desert exile returned
And we showered together under the waters:
This sea drowns me and, gasping for air, ecstacy is rendered profound in prophetic voice!
But look: as I write it, so it is immediately misconstrued!
The world will look on this, and through my reading, will see Theology in our sex.
What a paradox of poetry and prophecy I now live
As this Uzbek mistress looks on, amused, silent and, lips licked lasciviously, leads me back to the bedroom.
Oh my sweetest beloved,
Let this play of text itself,
Let it be like kisses upon your form,
Let it be like kisses upon your form.
Let us live like this forever: I write and sing and philosophize to the World,
Declaring my Love in different repetition
That all humanity might be amazed and in awe at what this man has done for Love.
A very public Love affair.
But these utterances are your hijab, my Muslim wife, for through the words
Our Truth is concealed
And your nakedness is for your husband’s gaze alone!
Anas, reported: Safiyya fell to the lot of Dihya in the spoils of war, and they praised her in the presence of Allah’s Messenger and said: We have not seen the like of her among the captives of war. (Sahih Muslim Book 8, 3329)