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Art and transcendence, multidisciplinary protagonists

Comillas hosts the first "Arte y Transcendencia" meeting with experts from various universities


21 May 2024

Comillas became the epicentre of art and transcendence with the celebration of the first meeting "Arte y transcendencia", an event that brought together experts in Humanities and Theology from Comillas and the University of Zaragoza who analysed the relationship between transcendence and the different arts, and the interaction between art and spirituality.

Ricardo Pinilla, Director of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Comillas CIHS, stressed the need for a new understanding of transcendence through aesthetic experience and addressed the issue of the corporeality of painting, illustrating it with examples of modern painting, from Manet to Pollock, to raise the question of the meaning of the work not as an effective message, but as an emergence of meaning. In Pinilla's own words, "it is necessary to critically review the idea of transcendence from the aesthetic experience, to vindicate its inescapable sensitive dimension, which is transfigured and linked to our intimacy".

The debate was enriched by the perspective of the philosophy lecturer Angelo Valastro on music as a means of attaining transcendental knowledge. In his talk, he spoke of the ambiguous singularity of musical art: etymologically interpreting the word "transcendence" as "journey through", Valastro underlined "the particular capacity of musical art to take the human being into unknown regions of knowledge".

For his part, Bert Daelemans, SJ, lecturer in Theology at Comillas, offered a unique vision of photography, suggesting that even everyday images can carry with them a transcendent dimension. Based on reflections by George Steiner, according to whom a work of art has something of the Annunciation, he interpreted different photographs capable of "carrying the transcendence inherent in the everyday".

Another of the Comillas CIHS lecturers who spoke, Milagros García Vázquez, illustrated, through the testimony of various artists - from Michelangelo to Chillida, from O'Keeffe to Smithson, from Fredrich to Rothko and Sugimoto, among others - the way in which "the potential transcendence of Art is forged in the mind of the creator before operating in the work and in the spectator". Finally, Eduardo Delgado, lecturer at the University of Zaragoza, presented some of his own projects, conceived as "architecture of transcendence".

According to Pinilla, "the aim of this meeting was to publicise the work of an emerging research group, while also highlighting the possibility of future interdisciplinary collaborations between different faculties and universities. Among these, it is worth mentioning the project already underway to study the architectural ensemble of the Cantoblanco headquarters on its 50th anniversary, as well as the writing of various doctoral theses".

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