Rituals

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Fabian Marti-Komposition fur eine Rhombus-2008
While researching the rather sinister figure of Georges Bataille, the author of the infamous surrealist pornographic novel The Story of the Eye, originator of the theory of base materialism and the leading light of the journal Documents (see Dreams of Desire 13 (Serene Beauty) which was the home for several major expelled and dissident Surrealists, I chanced upon the above stunning and intriguing photographic study Komposition fur eine Rhombus (Composition for a Rhombus).

Fabian Marti is a Zurich based artist and Komposition fur eine Rhombus was part of an exhibition in Bordeaux on Secret Societies and the Occult in modern and contemporary art. Apart from its purely formal considerations it certainly possesses a heavy, ritualistic feel that Bataille, himself the founder of the secret society Acephale, would have appreciated. It also brings to mind Maya Deren’s (with a little help from Marcel Duchamp) experimental film The Witch’s Cradle (see Alpha & Omega).

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70 thoughts on “Rituals

  1. That image doesn’t disturb in a that is wrong sense. I don’t know anything about G.B. – I interpet that imamge as self -sacrifice. That’s my interpretaion. Always love coming to your blog. I learn so much about stuff that really interests me. Life and Death are so interlinked – why are we scared death but embrace life? IDK.

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    1. Thank you Daisy. I would agree that it is about self-sacrifice, however the mirror image, apart from presenting a pleasing formal symmetry, reminds me of doppelgängers and doubles, who in fairy tales always represent death. It is a necessary self sacrifice which frees the double. Maybe. Note the dots between the swords forms an image of a goat, Baphomet if I am not mistaken. Bataille would definitely have known Artaud. He was Bretons enemy though they later made up. He was obsessed by sacrifice.

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      1. WOW! your knowledge is mesmerizing. I’ve been reading up on the symbology of diamonds and it seems to fit in with this doppelganger theory – I found this quote
        ” From an alchemist’s perspective, the diamond signifies refracting light. This translates into the soul taking a journey to achieve higher understanding to reach clarity and enlightenment. At the end of the path, the soul will sparkle and shine like a diamond.”

        Is this an image in relation to enlightenment? The inner conflict of how much a person learns in this passage in life and beyond? Can’t the darkness inform the light and vice versa?
        Why does one have to prevail?

        I have a lot of questions.
        The crossing of the diamond appears to prompt me to think that I have a choice. Perhaps more choices than dark or light. I don’t know. ha ha!

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      2. Albrecht Durer-Melencolia I-1514

        The most famous of the many outstanding works by the genius of the Northern Renaissance, Albrecht Durer’s etching …
        Melencolia I
        magnum opus,great work,alchemy,symbolism,sadness,comet,creativity,albrecht durer,magic square,prime matter,saturn,melancholy,renaissance,transformation,putrefaction
        https://cakeordeathsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/melencolia-i/
        This explains the importance of darkness in the artistic process. The first part of the Magnum Opus is putrefaction. Hope you like and let me know your thoughts.

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  2. Very interesting. If I may add another comment to those already made…I see it as a moment of decision, sort of a “now or never” point. My eyes are drawn to the diamond shape formed where the two swords intersect. I will have to visit your blog more often. This is quite intriguing. I can learn a lot from you.

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    1. That is an excellent point and the diamond shape refers to the rhombus of the title. Within the swords the goats head is contained and the points are parallel to the woman’s nipple. Thank you, please feel free to visit and comment and disagree on any of my posts. I always appreciate comments and reply sooner or later

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  3. Darkness is always sinister. I think when we use the word ‘ritual’ it makes magic/life/concepts/beliefs etc. seem like a stagnated option. I know, I m kind of going all abstract on you- but when I think of magic. I know there should be rules, I believe the people to set those rules should come from our self and our personal responsibility to express and use magic so that it is not stunted creatively and misused and abused. This is how I am able to appreciate the dark and the light in life and death.

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    1. Sorry for the delay I have been trying to come up with a spirited defence of ritual that doesn’t make your eyes glaze over. Certainly don’t worry about being abstract, I love abstract. Words change over time and I am referring not to ritual which means nothing more than a habit, I am refer miring to ritual as a rite… a way of investing events with extraordinary significance. By performing certain actions and saying certain words in a certain prescribed way they possess an extra level of meaning, though the words and actions are meaningless in themselves they overflow with meaning for the participant and affect a change. A lot of surrealist games desired the same effect. Often when I am writing I will concentrate and repeat a certain word hundreds or even thousands of times until the meaning has changed. Mystics of all religions do this. This is ritual for me. Sorry for the length of the response and thanks for getting me thinking.

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  4. Wow, an interesting discussion going on, Cake. The rhombus: acute angles, is that the connection? I see immediately why you were drawn to this image. Beyond the mirror images, the goat above her breasts but is there not a second goat, more subtly depicted below? Her nipples as the goat’s eyes, the curve of horns flowing the curve of her breasts? Or am I just seeing things (always a possibility…) This is a ritual of self sacrifice, could be the ultimate act of love, giving oneself on behalf of another. I don’t always see darkness as sinister. Sometimes it is a protection. Light exposes, shows up flaws and vulnerabilities.

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    1. You are indeed correct Meg, there is a second goat with the nipples as the eyes. Yes this is very Cakes indeed. I see this as a necessary self sacrifice in my opinion. No idea want the tattoo is, though it adds to the air of mystery. Heavy mystery.

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      1. Hmmm we are getting into very murky territory here. Azazel as the scapegoat bears the sins and is sacrificed. Early Christian commentary said that Azazel was either a fore-runner of Christ or was Satan, so no real help there thank you Origen. Baudelaire in his litany to Satan presents his darkness as the Lord of the Wretched. Eliphas Levi, the socialist Catholic occultist (and a previous incarnation of the Great Beast Aleistair Crowley, if he is believed) popularised the image of Baphomet, whom the Knoght Templars are supposed to have worshipped. The Church of Satan took that image the goat of mendes and it is their logo. I seem to have got lost somewhere but yes Azazel works.

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      2. I just looked it up in Leviticus, there were two goats: one for sacrifice and one for Azazel (Hebrew for goat that disappears) The one designated for Azazel was sent off into the wilderness, carrying off the sins of the people for the past year. So Azazel lived but was exiled…

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      3. For a goat that disappears he has certainly haunted the imagination. So fore runner of Christ or Satan? Surely this was a hangover from paganism, it just doesn’t seem very Monotheistic or Judaic. Thank you for the exact description. I told you murky territory.

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      4. Ursala Le Guin did a story on a similar theme called the The Ones Who Walked Away From Omelas, about a radiantly happy community who put all their misery in one person, apart from the Ones who walked away of course.

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      5. There is a science fiction story of that nature as well… An alien empath who encounters so much suffering and takes it upon herself to absorb it, that eventually it kills her. The idea of a savior, one person or thing being able to cover over the sins and suffering of another or a whole group seems to be cross cultural. Even King Arthur – the once and future king…

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      6. Are you trying to test my knowledge of demonology? That is a brilliant deduction Meg, I don’t even think of that but it the context it makes perfect sense that it is the Lord of the Flies. Also the tiny dots of light that make up the goats could be seen as fireflies. Now I am getting carried away.

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      7. This was just one entry in a multi artist show. I didn’t see the show, just heard of it because Bataille was name checked frequently (unsurprisingly). I think this one of the stronger pieces I have seen that were in the show. Really somebody should let me curate an exhibition like that, though I wouldn’t know the first thing about the actual dynamics of an art exhibition. But I could choose the work and write the catalogue no bother.

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  5. Mr. Cake a great photo. I think if you follow the visual intention and natural progression, flipping and burn another negative, you will have your Rhombus and two goats. It really is a tremendous photo, looking oddly out of place with a date of 2008. I do like Maya Deren. Love the introduction to Fabian Marti. ~ Miss Cranes

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    1. thank you Miss Cranes. Well you know I tend not to stray much forward than the 1970’s in my choice of art, but this definitely deserves a place in Cakeland, as I think it shows a surrealist and a definite occult sensibility. Plus I hope to keep people guessing as to what I will feature next (though I think i have said I will do loads of posts I havent gotten round to yet, I will get there eventually).

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  6. Very interesting photo indeed. Yes, I saw rhombus in the alignment of the swords. And noticed the dots in the background and was curious, but only saw the goat when I saw you talk about it. It seems to be something in the background of wherever the photo was taken, and the realist in me wants to know what it was exactly. 🙂 Pulls on an armoire perhaps? But, who knows. It just adds another layer of mystery, and the surrealist in my enjoys that.

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