The Rainbow Serpent

29 Apr - 04 Jun 2015

"The Rainbow Serpent"
Installation view
Photo by Silia Psychi
29 April – 4 June 2015

When all the knots of the heart are unloosened, then even here, in this human birth, the mortal becomes immortal.
—Katha Upanishad

“The Rainbow Serpent” is an exhibition concerning cosmic aesthetics, transcendental insight, and erotic mysticism that takes the awakening of the kundalini as a curatorial conceit.

The kundalini (coiled snake) is thought to be a latent energy column that lies dormant at the base of the spine. The awakening can occur through intense meditation or even traumatic experience. Once activated, the body’s energies tune through the spinal column and a universal consciousness sets in, like the opening of the so-called “third eye.”

Dorothy Iannone’s iconic work I Was Thinking of You II (1975/2005), a freestanding painting containing a video of the artist, celebrates the uninhibited joy of sexuality. The moment of awakening is detailed in The Fountain of Wisdom (1988–89) by the late clairvoyant and remote viewer Ingo Swann. The painting portrays a libidinal trifecta rising from a vortex: a muscular hirsute, a serpentine leather cop, and a burlesque animus. Similarly, in Marina Abramović’s shamanistic bust, healing crystals emerge from all surfaces of the face, tracing points of energy as they breach from the source.

The figure abstracts itself in The Clever Fox (2014) by Dan Colen, in which a multitude of metal studs stands in for the erotic body. In the painting Untitled (Great Mission Inside My Brain) (2014), Piotr Uklański embraces pseudoscience to explore compositional chakras and cosmic craft in a New Age mandala on canvas. A photograph by Carsten Höller depicts vignettes based on the artist’s experiment at the Hamburger Bahnhof where reindeers expelled psychedelic urine from eating magic mushrooms for controlled consumption by willing viewers.

Since the 1980s Paul Laffoley, also known as the Boston Visionary Cell, has been designing intricate axis mundi that map human esotericism. His recent work The Myth of the Zeitgeist (2013) conveys a sacred geometry issuing from the source of history’s most potential energies. In Reflexologie plantaire (Li Min Khun) (2011), Camille Henrot applies reflexology techniques to a block of clay, treating it as flesh and casting the impressed form in bronze. The cerulean stare of Y.Z. Kami's Blue Dome I (2010) radiates like an evil eye, while Borna Sammak's animated video painting strung up with orange hooks and cables evokes an ecstatic state of suspension. Approximating the pillars of creation and a blooming third eye, the present works constitute an eclectic synthesis of spiritual and physical gestures, emitting a palpable energy that can be felt from placebo to Sedona.

Tags: Marina Abramović, Dan Colen, Camille Henrot, Carsten Höller, Dorothy Iannone, Y.z. Kami, Paul Laffoley, Piotr Uklanski