On my way home: Hussein Mitha
Market Gallery invites you to join us for the fourth episode of our reading group On My Way Home. The facilitator and guest selector for this session is artist and researcher Hussein Mitha.
Sarturday 3rd August 3 - 6pm at Market Gallery
“We have given up communism — only to fall more deeply in love with the idea of ‘the community’” So writes Gillian Rose in the first sentence of her 1996 philosophical work, 'Mourning Becomes the Law…' Our reading group will focus on the first chapter of this book, ‘Athens and Jerusalem: a tale of three cities’.
Drawing on a painting by Nicolas Poussin, and its interpretation by the art historian Sister Wendy Beckett, this chapter draws attention to the way ‘the law’ can be reconfigured and reconstituted by individuals through finite acts of political justice. The act of mourning outside the city walls, a rebellion, becomes a central image for this: a reconfiguration of boundaries after the experience of loss. As we figuratively move from Rose’s ‘Old Athens’ to ‘New Jerusalem’, from the city of idealized, classical law to the city of unbounded love, from punishing civic order to a new ethics of community, Rose finds something deeply troubling with our destination as well as our relation to the past. Our search for a fabled ‘third city’ (at 'the end of history' of the 1990s) must also confront a fourth (anti-)city, Auschwitz, against which this process of mourning - Rose's text - finds representation.
“To acknowledge and to re-experience the justice and injustice of the partner’s life and death is to accept the law, it is not to transgress it — mourning becomes the law. Mourning draws on transcendent but representable justice, which makes the suffering of immediate experience visible and speakable. When completed, mourning returns the soul to the city, renewed and reinvigorated for participation, ready to take on the difficulties and injustices of the existing city. The mourner returns to negotiate and challenge the changing inner and outer boundaries of the soul and of the city; she returns to their perennial anxiety.”