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Rilke’s Razor

Rilke’s Razor, Jung’s version
1990
razor, velvet, wood, brass, mirror
10 x 13 x 2 inches

Rilke’s Razor was directly inspired by two passages from the Duino Elegies and by Archaic Torso of Apollo. The Archaic Torso poem brings into association Rilke’s love of classical Greek sculpture. The famous last line “you must change your life,” gives some credibility to the power of art.

from the First Elegy translated by David Young:
Beauty is only
        the first touch of terror
                we can still bear
and it awes us so much
        because it so coolly
                disdains to destroy us.

from the Second Elegy:

Creation’s spoiled darlings
        among the first to be perfect
                a chain of mountains
peaks and ridges
        red in the morning light
                of all creation
the blossoming doghead’s pollen
        joints of pure light
                corridors
staircases
        thrones
                pockets of essence
ecstasy shields
        tumultuous storms
                of delightful feelings
then suddenly
        separate
                mirrors
gathering the beauty
        that streamed away from them
                back to their own faces again.

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