“Crystal Ball, Feng Shui & Tarot”
Curator: Elga Wimmer
January 22 – February 21, 2015
Opening Reception: January 22, 6-8 pm
Panel discussion: (Tarot and Feng Shui masters talk with the artists): Jan. 24, 4pm
Artists: Mohamed El Baz (French Moroccan), Nicola L (French American), Mariko Mori (Japanese), Catya Plate (German Spanish), and Wong Kit Yi (Hong Kong Chinese)
Five international artists explore the “inexplicable,” “mysterious,” and “spiritual” aspects of experience in this exhibition. Although art affects us directly through material forms and hues, our reactions often derive not only from the visual but also from what we cannot see. Certain works evoke concepts and feelings that cannot be rationally explained. Outside the world of the visual arts, experts specialize in reading tarot cards, looking into the future through crystal balls, and configuring residential and work spaces according to feng shui. Many people search guidance and advice through these channels, and believe in the influence of star alignments, uncanny coincidences, energy flow, and “correct” arrangements of space, colors, and furnishings.
Mohamed El Baz’s “La ronde de nuit” (serigraphs on plexiglass and framed mirrors) is a realistic project … how to find in a popular card game (Ronda) all the combinations of possibilities of a better life. It involves the combinations, the strategies, the possible game settings—as money, war, soldiers, power, rest. The artist says, “In this work I change the cards into mirrors of our own situations.” The viewer is reflected in the mirrors that play the background to the symbols of the Tarot. Mohamed El Baz is presently showing this work on a larger scale in “Le Maroc Contemporain,” at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.
Nicola L’s work in painting, drawing, functional art, installation, performance and film has always referred to the shape of the body. Her depiction of the head, in its simplicity, reminds us of the moai statues of Easter Island. In her drawing and banner for this show thoughts in the mind are depicted inside of the shape of a head, with the 12 houses of the Tarot, symbolically enhanced by a collage of one of the most important tarot cards, “The Magician.” Nicola L is presently in a solo show at SECCA, Winston-Salem, N.C., and in the exhibition “The World Goes Pop” at Tate Modern, London, in the second half of 2015.
Mariko Mori mixes the ancient and modern, using digital technology in homage to old customs, cultures and spirituality. In her video “Miko No Inori,” she poses in Osaka’s Kansai International Airport as a futuristic, kaleidoscope-eyed visionary who gently and meaningfully caresses a crystal ball, while a haunting Japanese song plays in the background. Mori, in effect, channels an ethereal, techno/traditional shaman – a human figure who serves as medium between earth and the spiritual unknown. She is both a cyborg and a traditional Bodhisattva figure. Mori will present her solo show “Rebirth” at AGWA, Perth, Australia from February to June 2015.
Catya Plate, in a series of illustrative paperback-size drawings based on Tarot cards, shows principal characters played by plastic clothespins. The artist says about her Clothespin Freaks: “Conventional domestic and low-tech items, clothespins in particular, play a key role in my artwork Moving from clothespins as body attachments to anthropomorphized Clothespin Freaks was a natural step. The way in which the clothespins merged with the Tarot can only be explained as a freak accident or an evolutionary mishap.” Catya Plate presently has a solo show at the Indianapolis Art Center.
For Wong Kit Yi’s digital video “Feng Shui: how to be a better artist!,” the artist hired a New York-based Feng Shui master, Mr. Ye, to visit her studio, no. 403 at the Yale Sculpture Building. Based on her birthday, the Feng Shui master consulted her on how to rearrange her studio. These changes were supposed to help the artist achieve new heights in her work. Wong’s work is about letting go of control of her creation, and inviting interaction. Wong Ki Yi will show at Oil Street Art Space, Hong Kong (mid-Feb to June 2015).