Ewige Wiederkunft - Eternal Return
Have you ever noticed how the most splendid lilacs, for instance,
are the ones that grow up alongside derelict barns and abandoned shacks?
Sometimes beauty needs a bit of ignoring, to properly come into being.
(Un)ordered thoughts about destiny
I am about to explain some of the concepts that have led me to create this artwork titled Ewige Wiederkunft, which is meant to close a cycle that will come back from the present emptiness, and will later appear in my life – in my art.
I have been discovering these ideas, which sometimes seem to be beyond reasoning, during my life in Berlin. I would like to admit beforehand that most of them – perhaps even all of them – are not original, but I may have been taking them up from different places, and in most cases I am not able to specify what writer, book, or picture has awoken them.
What if everything in the history of mankind repeats itself in an infinite fate, with no chance of variation? We are immersed in the vortex of nature, abandoned to our loneliness – to the vastness of the universe. I still remember the exact moment when these ideas appeared on my mind for the first time. It was a revelation. They are the premise that led me to study what now is captivating me. Is time actually linear? Does it make sense to break up with the idea of past, present and future?
I remember that five years ago I read a sentence in one of the most fascinating books I know, Bill Bryson’s A Short Story of Nearly Everything. That sentence is still present in my thoughts nowadays, and it was something like “time as we know it doesn’t exist, there is no past where it emerges from.” Thus, “time” became a mysterious variable for me, an empty promise that seemed unreachable.
Events must unavoidably follow causality rules. We try to change our lives consciously, making decisions, while change might come when we learn to wait for life to surprise us and then go with the flow. We all have heard those words so many times: “whatever must happen will happen” (es muss sein).
There is no static reality, as everything is a process, and it is constantly changing. In every single one of the events that make up a moment, all other events in the world are implicit as well – all other past and future things, for everything that happens in that moment is the result of all preceding events, and the exact conjunction of all the events that happen in every moment will trigger all future happenings.
The idea that the life we are living now has happened in the past and will repeat itself for eternity makes me feel somewhat calm – it helps me not to succumb to uncertainty and to the apparent continuous drift of life. Perhaps, even if we had the chance to learn from our mistakes when a certain situation comes back, we may not be able to amend them.
All this is easier to accept if we realise that the history of humankind repeats itself, and all its culture with it. Life can certainly seem cyclical if we stop to think about specific historic moments: wars that follow each other, social revolutions and natural catastrophes. Virtually the same events happen in every century, with different features but always with one factor – one common essence. Are civilizations nothing but archetypes fleetingly shining in this “eternal return”?
I have slowly learnt to believe that what we know as “time” has a circular effect, some kind of eternal loop that does not adhere to past, present, and future, unlike I had always been taught. There is a beginning and an end, which in turn creates a new beginning. And that end must go through emptiness and thought, which is the place where I am now – where I pictured that girl in that place in ruins (BLUB - Berliner Luft- und Badeparadies, Neukölln, Berlin). She is alone, in a state of self-satisfaction, and in intimate desperation in certain moments, but always looking calm. This time I did not take a self-portrait, as I had the urge to look into all the lives that fit in one, and to imagine that on the stage where everything would happen. She wakes up with the strange sensation of a blank paper, as if she had turned a page during her sleep and a new chapter had begun, with the blurred feeling that she had already experienced that.
Nietzsche used to talk about that idea in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft: “all [shall return] in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself.”
I sense and suspect that there is a widespread wrong understanding of time. I dare to use an analogy between what is commonly known as “time” and Earth as it was understood before Galileo or Copernicus: time is not flat, time is somehow circular and round as well.
In the time I have been living as an immigrant (and emigrant) I have evolved, and now I can feel truly free. My life does not need to depend on a supposed reality beyond our senses, nor on the laws of the afterlife. The only thing that disrupts me and slows me down is the impatience (sometimes coming with sorrow) of waiting for what I desire to come back and never leave again.
I see all those who grow outside the convenience of their Heimat as brave people who get to cope with a road of disregard in a different place. Fields that are often lonely and unknown. I am interested in those who enjoy getting out of what is conventional – who dare to leave the comfort of common opinion.
We are not something motionless beyond things, but we are defined by movement itself – by fate itself. This is why Nietzsche didn’t talk about things that “are”, but things that “run along streets that last an eternity, along time”.
From this point of view of the eternal moment, I know that my transcendence is right here, with me. There is nothing to achieve, only to grow up, to carry on, to let oneself be surprised, and to go with the flow. To gather the courage needed to overcome fear, and to jump into this abyss of self-searching – into the arduous idea of trying to dig deeply into my knowledge of the world.
We must always act in the right way for ourselves, as I think that we definitely know how to tell apart good from evil. Every moment is eternal, and we have the responsibility to live it forever in the most appropriate way.
I know that those who come back from devastated places have a mark in their eyes, as well as a comfortable gesture with their own loneliness.
Ewige Wiederkunft - El Eterno Retorno
Photographs, text and art direction: Irene Cruz
Format: 16 x 23 cm closed / 32 x 23 cm opened
It has 32 pages - 4/4 colour inks - Pasted finishing
Edited by: Grundkreuz in collaboration with Plastikè Art Gallery
Limited edition of 100 copies
This photobook includes the pictures that make up Irene Cruz's last series, together with a brief essay about the concepts and thoughts –the Eternal Return, in this case– that have led her to develop this artwork after three years living in Berlin.