Tuesday, May 11, 2010

sacred art

Duy Huynh (eggxaltation) #TwitPict on Twitpic
Duy Huynh (eggxaltation)

When I was in Asheville with my wife Jazmin, we saw a wide assortment of clearly mythological pieces of art. (That I keep seeing examples of this outside the sphere of my personal contacts only further amplifies my sense that there is a resurgence of this approach to the creative process, at least in a conscious sense.) Some of these were like miniature altars or sacred objects, involved various pieces of found objects, re-constructed elements, miniature books, personal relics, and so on. This got us to thinking about building our own- not by way of forming a derivative current, but simply as a way of exploring a particular idea.

Aleta Braun (lunar series) #TwitPict on Twitpic
Aleta Braun (lunar series)

Daniel lessig #TwitPict on Twitpic

    Jazmin found a number of $.25 books at the local library and this served as a jumping off point. 25 does not immediately have a significance to me, but it is the square of 5, and that has many symbolic meanings. We chose to focus in on the heirophant, the throat chakra, and the Fibonacci sequence, mostly to serve as a jumping off point for what these objects are to become. One can get fixated on the symbolism and use it as a strict metric rather than a loose guide. This can be constricting. As you fixate in on such seemingly arbitrary things, you may begin to notice things- for instance, the ideas behind the throat chakra, of taking the root power from the first and third chakras and expressing it upon the world, is something we both need to work on. So right away this becomes not only an exploration and meditation, but also a means of attempting to take a first step towards making such changes in ourselves.
    The more you work with the objects themselves, in constructing and assembling them, the more opportunity you are given to infuse it with personal meaning, which is the ritual element. That is really where the power in ritual lies; the repetitive nature of it that can occur in large organizations, where people parrot the same motions generation after generation, leeches it of its power. The sacred is turned inert, the gold becomes ash. It is turned profane.
    Of course, some artists build objects like this and then say they can't possibly sell it or even display it later because it means too much to them. However, I immediately think of Tibetan sand paintings, mandalas that require an incredible amount of skill to build and which are destroyed no sooner than they are completed. Such things become aesthetic rather than sacred objects the moment they are completed. At that point, they may reflect some of their meaning - or even different meanings - to an audience. They may inspire, as the pieces that we saw in the galleries we went to did for us. But their sacred purpose, the process of creating them, has already been spent. The artist moves on.

(More in my Twitpic feed.)

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