Visions of Enchantment Conference at University of Cambridge
This month i was lucky enough to visit the Conference “Visions of Enchantment – Occultism, Spirituality and Visual Culture” organised by Cambridge University, UK, with academic and independent scholars from around the world presenting their inspiring ideas and just sharing a wonderful time.
The recurring topic was gender and gender transformation from the times of hermeticism to works of british artist and occult master Austin Osman Spare, which i found interesting as it was also rendered in one of my works “Androgyn, experiment in alchemic reconstruction after Picassos Las Meninas”. All art can be seen as part of mystical or alchemical process of transformation. Alchemic process is described to go through stages of solve (deconstruction) – coagula (assembling the pieces into transformed entity). We all know beautiful royal child in “Infanta” by Velasques. What Picasso did is he “deconstruced” the iconic image, because the dominating ideas of his time were those of socialism, anti-royalism, liberation from tradition and thus of figurative form rendering. But if You look closely, Picasso’s “Infanta” appears to have 2 faces and 3 arms, channeling the psychic disintegration, loss of spiritual center, feeling of being lost in the turmoils of fall of civilization and war as we know from “Guernica”. My story of “Infanta” does not end here. After experiencing the stage of deconstruction with its darkness and chaos the human soul or as i see in “Infanta” the virgin queen soul of our culture enters the stage of “assembling the pieces”. Yes, she still has two faces as Picasso’s version, but they are well centered and balanced and are giving comfort and support to each other, right side more masculin and supporting and left more feminine and reciprocative thus representing the alchemic idea of “Androgyn” or “Hermaphrodite”, a restored perfected human emanation where two sides are balancing and complementing each other in harmonious unity and everlasting love to oneself.