The dialectical image
In a few hours, our group will arrive for our fall session of our painting workshop Studio Italia. For the next ten days we will incessantly paint the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany. Then once everyone will be back to the United States, Canada and Australia, it will be time to paint the “dialectical image”.
But what is the dialectical image? Lets answer with simplicity. The dialectical image is a philosophical concept by German philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) that can be translated by this simple equation: dream image + awakening = dialectical image. It is the precise moment between sleep and awakening… where there was the dream image is now the dialectical image. It is through this means that the artist (in any discipline) will grasp her / his material for a future work of art. This action is then crystallized trough the choice of a technique mastered by the artist.
According to Benjamin, there is a strong intimacy between the dream and the awakening. He writes: “the dream always waits for the awakening”. The artist has to know how to dramatise the situation, to be able to tell, to be able to build a catwalk between the dream and the awakening, in brief, to be able to master the awakening technique.
To conclude, this relationship between dream and awakening doesn’t solely belong to the individual, but also to the collectivity, so it must well represent both. Now, just imagine what they dream in Syria?