Steven Henry Madoff

on Rut Blees Luxemberg

Rut Blees Luxemburg, Vertiginous Exhilaration, 1995

Caspar David Friedrich, Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, 1818
Caspar David Friedrich, The Stages of Life, 1835

An excerpt from DEAR DAVE, 25

So it is that the past is always the path to come, and to return to Friedrich, his daring character may still believe in a glorious, unseeable God who breathes into this human world a mighty power witnessed in the form of depth itself. But his character’s vantage point is also Luxemburg’s and now our own, gazing down through a car park in Shoreditch in 1995. There, the contemporary world was already rushing toward technologies of compressed spatiality, of everything once separate in the very idea of distance accelerating into virtual reach. In this nocturnal London scene, whose vertigo is temporal as well as spatial, there is already the spectral tracing of un-depth, of a flattening out of perspectival lines that reach all the way back to the Renaissance and zoom forward toward a present whose more abstract patterns hint at the life to come.