Saturday, July 9, 2011

Antwerp cut-up

The secret life of plants
The Secret Life of Plants refers to the 16th-century homo universalis Robert Fludd, who was at once a physician, a physicist, an astrologer and a philosopher. The composition is a visualization of Fludd's central thesis that there is an analogy between microcosm and macrocosm. The withered flowers are tulips. The memory of their floral splendor is swept away by the wind. But their life force survives in the bulb.
This remarkable building has survived a particularly eventful history like the breaking of the vessels that were meant to contain the emanation of God's light. As a result, evil - incarnated as Lilith - was introduced into the world.
The result was the isolated  existence in Pyramiden, an arctic ghost town and abandoned mining site which flourished under the Soviet regime. Here roads and money were nonexistent.
What remains is a desolate landscape scarred by battle. Seemingly dead nature. But new life is budding in the shape of poppies. A little moisture would suffice to bring it back to life. Their color echoes that of the spilt blood, but their sedative property also promises relief from the pain.
That is the secret life of plants. The Calvary garden could easily be a still from an epic film about Christ's suffering and resurrection. This work is not so much about the suffering of Christ as about his sacrifice and triumph over death. It connects heaven and earth.

Bohemia by the sea
Bohemia is a border region in the Czech Republic that has been the stake in many wars. It does not lie 'by the sea' as claimed in the title, which refers to a poem by Ingeborg Bachmann about the power and the endless possibilities of the sea.
This composition incorporates calculations by Velimir Khlebnikov, a Russian author who theorised that important naval battles recur every 317 years.

The world's largest stone observatory is located in Jaipur, India. The steps leading to the observation platform are like a ladder connecting heaven and earth. Aptly described as "stone lacework" its northern tower still dominates the skyline.
As we continue to chart the infinite universe, we meticulously record the coordinates of the stars and the planets, pinning them to a precise location. But these series of digits are not coordinates, but inventions.
Merkaba is Hebrew for "chariot". Jacob's Ladder' stands for spiritual growth: a series of meditation exercises and the study of certain Kabbalist scriptures yielding a better understanding of the relationship between God and man.

I don't have much space and have to throw away notes and cuttings regularly. I had collected a stack of brochures during my Antwerp visit. I could not bring myself to throw them away. Finally I made this cut-up of brochure texts, scanned pictures and my own photographs of the visit. I will have to revisit Antwerp. It is a fascinating city with many layers.

I don't expect this piece to be particularly interesting for others. It is a personal experiment about mixing reality, history, religion and imagination. Layers of reality that need not be separate.

Anselm Kiefer - Antwerp City Museums, M HKA and KMSKA – 23.10.2010 - 23.01.2011 - Original text by Christien Deblaere
Anselm Kiefer - Exhibition Pictures
Boris Becker - Photographs, 1984-2009 - FoMu-Galerie – Antwerp – 24.09.10-16.01.11
Boris Becker - Fascinating photographic works!
Ville Lenkkeri – The Place of No Roads - FoMu-Galerie – Antwerp – 18.11.10-16.01.11
Brochure - Monumentale kerken Antwerpen - 

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