By Nancy, Jean-Luc; McKeane, John
During this paintings, Jean-Luc Nancy is going past his past ancient and philosophical inspiration and attempts to imagine - or not less than crack open a bit to considering - a stance or bearing that would be appropriate to the retreat of God that effects from the self-deconstruction of Christianity.
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We shall not do so partly because it would be grotesque to call for “adoration” in a world that perhaps lacks everything—justice, history, civility [cité], splendor, sense—except the idols, fetishes, gods, and celebrities that are proposed as objects of adoration. But this is not the only reason why we shall not simply affirm the necessity of adoration, however self-evident or sensible it might appear, because it is not the right reason. It not the right reason on two grounds. First, such a reasoning presupposes that adoration could only be addressed to the shimmering and dubious population that has just been listed, those who occupy the altar or the circus ring for a moment only.
But in itself it is nothing, nothing but a gap, an opening. The infinitesimal reality (res, nothing [rien]) of opening. And therefore also of relationship, transport, transformation, or exchange, of the fortunate or unfortunate encounter. The opening is as risky, as adventurous as it is fortuitous, as dangerous as it is precious. Adoration is addressed to this opening. Adoration consists in holding onto the nothing—without reason or origin—of the opening. It is the very fact of this holding on.
Both functioning as a salutation and meaning “salvation,” this word has no equivalent in English, and so throughout the work its presence has been clearly signaled. It is not just language in limited or literal terms that is conceived on the model of salutation and address in Nancy’s work, but also sense in general. In this light, sense understood as repetition, transferral, or deferral is present in the French as envoi and renvoi. The English translations available—“echoing,” “referring,” “sending,” and “dispatching”—cannot reestablish the proximity, itself an echoing, of course, between the two terms.