OR

Man Ray-Woman holding Giacometti’s Disagreeable Object

Choose one from the following:


This is the beginning of something

Or

The end of everything

Or

A continuation of a whole lot of nothing

Or

Stop right there I have heard enough
I don’t care for the menu
Time to move on wasted enough already

Or

And or but
Into the fog
Maybe the smoke
If it is the conflagration after all
Either or neither
Nether ever never
Wood coal pour some oil
Cant see the forest for the trees

Or

I saw you for the first time again
You seemed different somehow
Though I had to admit
That you looked so good
I just had to touch myself
Forgetting that your kisses
Always left their mark
Bruising and wounding
Ah well what’s sex without pain
Love always requires some seasoning

Or

Will you ever….
You make everything sound so dirty
Though you will probably take that
As some form of obscure compliment
After all you wrote a pornographic reprise
Of Aquinas’s Summa
But I’ve come here to bury you
Not to praise
Are you listening
Do you catch…

Or

Come now cough ante pony up
No thing like a free
Take a look at the fork
We are all exposed
In some form of fashion
What a season
Hell’s got nothing
Here is the variety
Nauseating horrific exhilarating
No time for the honorific
Down here while I describe
With disgust my various
Beautiful disguises

Inferno

Sandro Botticelli-Map of Hell circa 1485
Sandro Botticelli-Map of Hell circa 1485

Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of the  undisputed masterpieces of world literature and the crowning achievement of the medieval world-view. Representing the allegorical journey of the soul through the three realms of the afterlife, Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise, the Comedy offers a series of vividly dramatic scenes that has ignited the imagination of artists throughout the centuries, especially the unforgettable voyage through the seven circles of Hell, where Dante with his guide Virgil hear the stories of sinners as they undergo the eternal torments of the damned.

Sandro Botticelli produced a number of exquisite silverpoint illustrations, probably commissioned by Lorenzo De Medici during the latter years of the 15th Century, however the project was never completed. William Blake taught himself Italian to be able to read the Comedy in the original and spent his final days feverishly working on a series of sublime watercolours. Gustave Dore’s sombre and majestic otherworldly etchings are probably the greatest completed visual rendition of Dante’s narrative. In the twentieth century Tom Phillips produced a unique take in his limited edition of Inferno.

Below are examples of the four artists work based around episodes set in the Inferno. I have also included  Stockhausen’s Luzifers Abschied, which has to rank as the strangest, most left field, left handed experimental piece of music (or any other media, for that matter) included in Cakeland; just in case anyone wants to really immerse themselves in the infernal atmosphere of the artworks.

Sandro Botticelli-Illustration for Divine Comedy circa 1485
Sandro Botticelli-Illustration for Inferno circa 1485

William Blake-The Inscription over the Gate 1824-7
William Blake-The Inscription over the Gate 1824-7

William Blake-The Simoniac Pope 1824-7
William Blake-The Simoniac Pope 1824-7

Gustave Dore-Lucifer 1861
Gustave Dore-Lucifer 1861

Gustave Dore-Traitors 1861
Gustave Dore-Traitors 1861

Tom Phillips-Canto XIX 1981
Tom Phillips-Canto XIX 1981

Tom Phillips-Canto XIV-1982
Tom Phillips-Canto XIV-1982

 

Flora, Fauna and the Eternal Feminine

Marco Mazzoni
Marco Mazzoni

The elaborate and enigmatic drawings of the Milan based artist Marco Mazzoni are created entirely by coloured pencils. Drawing on Sardinian folklore of an underground matriarchal culture of witches and herbalist healers, his drawings frequently feature a female face surrounded by, (with the eyes always obscured), finely detailed studies of variegated flora and fauna. Combined with an undisputed mastery of chiaroscuro the effect is seductively disturbing with an undercurrent of bewitching danger and riotous decadence.

Marco Mazzoni
Marco Mazzoni 2

Marco Mazzoni
Marco Mazzoni 3

Marco Mazzoni 4
Marco Mazzoni 4

Marco Mazzoni-The Rescue 2015
Marco Mazzoni-The Rescue 2015

Marco Mazzoni 6
Marco Mazzoni 6

 

The Shadow of the Sacred

Lucifer-Agostino Arrivabene 1997
Lucifero-Agostino Arrivabene 1997

The paintings of contemporary Italian artist Agostino Arrivabene are grounded in the techniques of the Old Masters and inhabit the timeless realm of dreams and mythological, religious archetypes. Against a  backdrop of either luminous darkness or apocalyptic landscape, figures that have haunted the collective unconscious for centuries or longer, Orpheus, Lucifer, Elizabeth Bathory, Persephone, enact sacred ritual dramas. Among  the memento mori lie the possibility of transformation and metamorphosis; an actualisation of becoming.

Arrivabene cites as influences the Symbolist Gustave Moreau, the master of the Northern Renaissance Albrecht Dürer and the Neo-Baroque/Kitsch artist Odd Nerdrum. Also discernible are traces of Max Ernst’s eroding mineral frottage derived inscapes, Giger‘s spectacular visceral transfigurations and Blake‘s sheer burning visionary intensity. In keeping with the Symbolist tendency towards drawing inspiration from literature elements of Ovid, Dante and Giordano Bruno are included within the occult and occasionally infernal worlds of Arrivabene.

Below is a selection of images showcasing Arrivabene’s unique art. For a more comprehensive view  please visit the artist’s website agostinoarrivabene.it. For details on the artist’s fascinating process visit the interview at the excellent Fulgur Press.

Sacrum Facere-Agostino Arrivabene-2016
Sacrum Facere-Agostino Arrivabene-2016

Prefica Mutante-Agostino Arrivabene-2014
Prefica Mutante-Agostino Arrivabene-2014

Rhitmus de die mortis-Agostino Arrivabene-2013
Rhitmus de die mortis-Agostino Arrivabene-2013

Il sogno di Asclepio-Agostino Arrivabene 2015
Il sogno di Asclepio-Agostino Arrivabene 2015

Ematofaga (Elisabeth Bathory)-Agostino Arrivabene 2014
Ematofaga (Elisabeth Bathory)-Agostino Arrivabene 2014

Crux Mystica-Agostino Arrivabene 2017
Crux Mystica-Agostino Arrivabene 2017

Proserpina ornitofobaoilo-Agostino Arrivabene-2011
Proserpina ornitofobaoilo-Agostino Arrivabene-2011

Angelo del Versamento III-Agostino Arrivabene 2016
Angelo del Versamento III-Agostino Arrivabene 2016

The Seven Songs of Orpheus-Agostino Arrivabene-1996
I sette giorni di Orfeo-Agostino Arrivabene-1996

Nozze Infernali 2-Agostino Arrivabene
Nozze Infernali 2-Agostino Arrivabene

 

 

An Ideal Dystopia

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These days what’s the most we can realistically hope for but some form of ideal dystopia.
Perhaps an isolated bunker in a distant land deep beneath the surface fitted with all the conveniences that seem so essential, naturally.
We could sleep safe and soundly there and dream plastic dreams of our synthetic future as we transform into angelic androids, with our skins like vinyl that hisses and crackles when we touch, superficially smooth yet as we press harder we discover contours and grooves that activate sensations far forgotten within the soul.
We long for a fine and private place but there is none to speak of so we sneak into what passes for a sacred grove, dedicated to some degenerate local deity with one glass eye and undoubtedly an unappeasable taste for tidy hookers and neat gin.
In this dimly lit ersatz arbour made of rusting metal and fake bamboo hemmed in by tarnished mirrors we talk:
of replicants;
of organisms that ceaselessly duplicate;
of the next eagerly anticipated catastrophe;
of death and destruction as the ultimate spectator sport;
of the serenity to be found in surrendering to the spooked spiralling logic of paranoia;
of nightclubbing and nightcrawling;
of nocturnal emissions;
of the vicious inanity of Incubi and Succubi;
of the Latter Days of the Fourth Decadency;
of a corrosive inertia;
of ennui and entrophy;
of containment and contagion;
of chance encounters and happy accidents that lead to inevitable happy endings;
of the cellar door in The Very Heaven Heavenly Hotel;
of protean cult leaders;
of clairvoyant photographers;
of a vanishing star of stage and screen;
of wandering infra dig soldiers lost in the twilighting border zone;
of standing on the threshold of a room;
of skipping a vital slowed down sleazy beat;
of nonsensical impulses and randomly compelling whims;
of waylaid emotion and contaminated intimacy;
of perverse attractions;
of dream homes and heartache;
of love and sleep.