exhibition: ‘gillian wearing and claude cahun: behind the mask, another mask’ at the national portrait gallery, london

Self Portrait c.1927

“…the life of spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself. It is this power, not as something positive, which closes its eyes to the negative as when we say of something that it is nothing or is false, and then having done with it, turn away and pass on to something else; on the contrary, spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being.”

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George Wilhelm Frederich Hegel 1807 ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’, Preface (trans. A. V. Miller 1977), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 10

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Yuri Pimenov

Yuri Pimenov (1903-1977) was a prominent Soviet painter.

“Art has a subtle soul. The more intelligent and more complicated man becomes, the richer and deeper his art will be. Art requires intelligence, not craftsmanship. It requires a special and delicate organization of one’s soul… Its search for the real, its exploration of the world has no limits,” the painter wrote.