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A Hole in the Sea?

This photo is obviously not of a “hole in the sea”. It is the roof of the MucEM, the “Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations” in Marseilles, France. But to me it looks like a broken sea with the “La Major” church in its background, at the entrance to the old district of the town.

It is a paradoxical situation. The relation between the new and the old makes the photograph work. I imagine the roof of the museum without the church, or the church without the roof… and something is missing. There is no tension, no contrast, no paradox.

A paradox, essentially, is a situation which cannot be totally accepted by the rational mind, a situation which creates tension. Thus – because we feel a bit uncomfortable – it becomes an incentive, an impulse to move forward with the hope of resolving the paradox, and to regain our lost “peace of mind”.

I believe art is more about questions than answers. The presence of art creates an impact, a shock that rattles our certainties. It does not matter if it is an image or a sound, a poem or a sculpture, a dance or a theatre piece. Art awakens an inner questioning, just like philosophy. By doing so it reminds us of the need to accept the pursuit of beauty and harmony. This pursuit expands our consciousness to a new stage where the uncertainty resulting from the previous uncomfortable enigma vanishes.

A good photo is thus a paradoxical photo. One should be able to identify the landscape without any special effort, but there should also be “something” there that doesn’t exactly fit one’s expectations.

To set out to solve this riddle is to accept the invitation to the quest offered to every person.