Jošt Snoj

Ljubezen rodi obličje

 

p. Marko I. Rupnik

 

Vladimir Solovjov pravi, da tisti, ki pozna eno drevo, pozna Vse. Pri Vjačeslavu Ivanoviču Ivanovu pa najdemo jasno obrazložitev tega teološko-duhovnega dejstva. Ivanov namreč pravi, da je vsaka stvar notranje odprta v Skrivnost Stvarnika. Vsaka stvar se v svoji notranjosti odpre ali pogrezne v Vseedinost, ki je neuničljiva ljubezen Troedinega Boga. Kdor torej v spoznanju ene stvari pride do njene odprtosti v neskončno, do njene povezave z Vseedinostjo, ki je življenje in ki oživlja vse, kar obstaja, ta dejansko spoznava vse. Ivanov je bil umetnik, pesnik in je vedel, kako velik čar in privlačnost ima ta slutnja Vseedinosti, ki umetnika vodi preko vse razdrobljenosti, ločenosti in sprtosti stvari, ljudi in zgodovinskih dogajanj.

In prav ta slutnja Duha, ta intuicija, da je nekje v globini v Bogu vse povezano, da so vse stvari ukoreninjene v Skrivnosti bivanja, ki je Bog oziroma njegova Ljubezen, je tudi klic našega akademskega slikarja Jošta Snoja. Po akademskem študiju se Snoj v inflaciji umetniških izrazov in likovnih govoric odloči za tisti slog, ki mu ponuja največ možnosti, da sledi tej svetli intuiciji oziroma da uresniči svojo poklicanost. Tej smeri pristno doda svoj oseben pečat. Bogata pastoznost, ki so nam jo zapustili impresionisti, in izredno bivanjsko, eksistencialno občutljiva, krhka, postmoderna predelava ekspresionističnega slikarstva. Snoj obravnava pastoznost kakor čisti pigment, kakor obogatitev svetlobnega učinka. Svetloba pade na platno in se vžge v pastoznosti pigmentov, naneseni istočasno tudi v komaj zaznavni prosojnosti, in predmeti, figure na polju se razodenejo v neki barvno bogati sojnosti, ki zakrije svoje meje, orise, površine in ustvari neko magnetno enotnost, ki vse poveže.

Joštova poklicanost tu začne doživljati potrebo po novih podvigih. V njem sta umetnost in duhovništvo ena in ista poklicanost. Ne gre za dva človeka ne za dve dejavnosti ali dve zaposlitvi. Človek s tako tenkočutnostjo za enotnost gotovo doživlja v sebi javljanja Boga kot klic v poenoten odgovor Njemu. Kot duhovnik ve, da je v Kristusovem telesu utemeljena in uresničena edinost stvarstva, človeštva in vsega, kar je. In to telo je Cerkev. Sveti Duh pa daje ljudem, ustvarjenim osebam, katerih človeška narava je že poenotena v Kristusovem Telesu, da se svobodno zaupajo Kristusu in mu pripadajo kot sinovi v Sinu ter tako zaživijo že tu, v Cerkvi, tisto edinost, ki se bo popolnoma uresničila ob koncu časov.

Zato Snoj sprejme izziv na začetku študija na Gregorijani, da je morda še kakšen drug način, še bolj poduhovljen, s katerim se v Cerkvi, se pravi tudi v bogoslužnem prostoru, bolj celostno izrazi edinost in spremenjenje vsega. Cerkev je že umetniško dozorela, da lahko izrazi duhovno stvarnost v duhovnih pojmih in simbolih.

Gre torej za neko objektivno edinost vse človeške narave, ki je v Kristusovem Telesu. Ta objektivnost edinosti, ki je Cerkev, prav preko oseb raste v vse bolj osebno edinost oziroma v edinost oseb. Ljubezen ustvarja obličje, se z njim posreduje in uresničuje. Zato tudi edinost, uresničena v objektivnosti naše narave, ki jo je Gospod vzel nase, pričakuje razodetje svobodnih Božjih otrok, se pravi občestva obličij, ki se svobodno prepoznavajo v enem, občestvenem organizmu, ki je Cerkev.

Snoj torej vidi, da teh tako vrtoglavih duhovnih resnic – ki pa so resnice o Skrivnosti življenja in torej skrajno bivanjsko pomembne – ni mogoče soočati z neko govorico trendov sodobne galerijske umetnosti. Bogoslužna umetnost ima svoj statut. Njeno glavno umetniško vodilo je teologija in njena estetika je bogoslužje. Ta umetnost ne more samo opisovati stvari, ne more se niti zadovoljiti s predstavljanjem stvarnosti.

 Bogoslužna umetnost je tako združena z bogoslužjem, da je prostorje prisotnosti Božje-človeške Skrivnosti ter prebuja v človeku spoštovanje, čaščenje in molitev. Zaradi tega ta umetnost ne more biti le izraz umetnika samega. Ne more biti le izražanje njegovih čustvenih stanj in razpoloženj. Niti ne more biti neke vrste zapis njegovih subjektivnih idej, nazorov in osebnih pomenov neke idealistične subjektivne simbolike. Najbolj značilen izraz teologije in inteligence vere je simbol, kakor so ga razumeli in nam ga zapustili cerkveni očetje.

In Jošt se je odločil za umetnost v bogoslužnem prostoru. Preučevati je začel verjetno največjega teološkega simbolista, Efrema Sirskega. Tako je v veliki zakladnici Cerkve začel odkrivati povsem nove in izredno bogate, očarljive razsežnosti Spomina, Izročila in Modrosti. Snoj spoznava, da je umetnost predvsem služenje. Odkrivanje izročila kot živega spomina, odkrivanje teološko-duhovne razsežnosti simbola in poglabljanje v obdobja vrhunske zrelosti bogoslužne umetnosti Snoja prepriča, da enotnost ni samo v neki očarljivi pastoznosti, ki zamegli meje med liki, temveč ga iskanje edinosti privede do obličja. Edinost je stvar ljubezni, ljubezen pa stvar srečanja, konkretnih dejanj ljubezni in zato v zadnji inštanci stvar obličij in pogledov. Resnična bogoslužna umetnost ne išče več poti, na kateri bi se umetnik lahko pokazal, temveč bogoslužna, duhovniška, služeča drža vodi umetnika v prostor, v katerem živi skupnost. Umetnik doživlja, da bi s svojimi spoznanji, s svojim navdihom in svojo izkušnjo, ki je že cerkvena – se pravi občestvena –, rad daroval svoj dar v Cerkvi. Zato se mi zdi izredno pomenljivo, da Jošt za to razstavo ni izbral galerije, ampak prostor, v katerem živi krščanska skupnost, še več, v katerem že več stoletij utripa srce redovne skupnosti. Za tako odločitev je potreben pogum, človekova – tudi umetnikova – zrelost pa se pozna prav v sposobnosti odločanja in izbiranja.

‘The Countenance Is Born of Love’

 

  Fr. Marko I. Rupnik

 

According to Vladimir Soloviev, he who knows a single tree knows All. A clear explanation of this theological and spiritual fact is found in Viacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov, who claims that everything is inwardly open to the Mystery of the Creator. Deep inside, everything opens or sinks into All-Unity, which is the indestructible love of the Trinitarian God. Whoever comes to know a thing and thus to perceive its openness to infinity, its link to All-Unity, which is life and gives life to all that is, indeed learns about everything. As artist and poet, Ivanov knew the fascination exercised by the presentiment of this All-Unity, which leads the artist past all fragmentation, separation and enmity between objects, people, and historical processes.

This very presentiment of the Spirit, the intuition that, deep down, everything converges in God and that all things are rooted in the Mystery of Being, that is, in God or His Love, is the message proclaimed by Slovenian academic painter Jošt Snoj. Having finished his studies at the Academy, Snoj picked from the inflation of art expressions and idioms the style which enables him best to follow this bright intuition and to realize his vocation. This style bears his genuine personal stamp. The rich pastuous quality bequeathed to us by the Impressionists and a singular fragile, postmodern, existentially sensitive reworking of Expressionist painting. Snoj treats this pastuosity as pure pigment, as enrichment of the light effect. Falling on the canvas, the light burns itself into the pastuous texture of the pigments, which are applied elsewhere in barely perceptible transparency, and the objects, the figures in the field, stand revealed in a richly colourful luminosity which blurs its boundaries, outlines, areas, creating an all-encompassing magnetic unity.

At this point, Jošt’s vocation is impelled towards new enterprises. For him, art and priesthood are one and the same vocation. There can be no question of two persons, two activities, or two occupations. A person so sensitive to unity must experience God’s manifestations as calling for a unified answer to Him. As a priest he knows that the unity of creation, humankind and everything in existence is founded and realized in the body of Christ. And this body is the Church. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, enables human beings (creatures whose human nature is already unified in Christ’s Body) to commit themselves freely to Christ, to belong to Him like sons in the Son, and thus to taste here, in the Church, the unity which shall be fully realized at the end of time.

That is why Snoj, embarking on his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, accepts the challenge that the Church – which includes the place of worship – may have still other, even more spiritual ways at its disposal to express holistically the unity and transformation of everything. The Church is artistically mature, and as such it is capable of expressing spiritual reality in spiritual concepts and symbols.

The crucial issue, then, is a certain objective unity of all human nature, which is contained in Christ’s Body. It is through persons that this objectivity of unity, which is the Church, grows to an increasingly personal unity, the unity of persons. Love creates a countenance through which it transmits and realizes itself. Therefore the unity realized in the objectivity of our nature, which was assumed by the Lord, expects a revelation of free God’s children – a community of countenances freely recognizing themselves in a single communal organism, which is the Church.

In short, Snoj perceives that these dizzying spiritual truths – truths about the Mystery of Life, and thus of the utmost existential importance – cannot be accommodated to the trends of contemporary gallery art. Religious art has its own statute. Its main guideline is theology, its aesthetic is the worship of God. This art cannot simply describe things, nor can it rest satisfied with representing reality. Indissolubly entwined with divine worship, religious art is the space where the divine-human Mystery is present. This art inspires respect, worship and prayer. Therefore it cannot be limited to expressing the poet’s emotional states and moods. Nor can it be a record of his subjective ideas, views, and meanings privately ascribed to an idealistic subjective symbolism. The most typical expression of theology and intelligence of faith is the symbol as understood and bequeathed to us by the Fathers of the Church.

Thus Jošt chose art in the field of worship. He began to study Ephrem of Syria, probably the greatest theological symbolist. In the vast treasure-house of the Church, he discovered new, abundant, enchanting dimensions of Memory, Tradition and Wisdom. Snoj comes to realize that art is, above all, service. Through discovering tradition as a living memory, unveiling the theological and spiritual dimensions of the symbol, and immersing himself in the periods when the maturity of religious art was at its peak, Snoj becomes convinced that unity is not merely in a charming pastuous quality which blurs the boundaries between figures. His quest for unity brings him to the countenance. Unity has to do with love: love has to do with meetings, with concrete acts of love, and thus in the final analysis with countenances and gazes. True religious art no longer seeks for a path where the artist might display himself. On the contrary, the attitude of worshipful priestly service leads the artist to the living space of a community. With his insights, inspiration and ecclesiastical – that is, communal – experience, he longs to present his gift in the Church. Therefore I find it most significant that Jošt has chosen for his exhibition a place inhabited by a Christian community – indeed, the centuries-old abode of a convent community – rather than a gallery. This kind of decision requires courage, and maturity – an artist’s, too – is marked precisely by the ability to decide and choose.