Monday, March 19, 2012

Exloring HyperLightness ad absurdum with Portuguese Artist Margarida Sardinha

I met the Portuguese geometric/kinetic artist Margarida Sardinha via Twitter in 2010 and have found her work ceaselessly interesting. It was through Sardinha that I became acquainted with, and fell in love with the work of, the poet Fernando Pessoa.

Sardinha's work strives to encompass a universe of ideas, distilling them into a density comparable to what Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges have done by means of literature, except that her canvas encompasses both visual and audio symbology in a dynamic manner that embraces and transcends these literary visionaries. Because of the length, and the density of this dialogue, I have chosen to break it into three blog entries. Stay with us and be rewarded.

Ennyman: You say that you spent six years working on this project. How was the project first conceived?

MS: HyperLightness ad absurdum was born from a deep spiritual need to engage in a process of understanding plurality in Oneness that is embodied in symbology’s divine strength. All my previous works had been trying to convey this notion of Coincidentia Oppositorum in different ways and with different mediums such as the installation “As Above, so Below...” that reflected the Christian gnostic multiplicity of Fernando Pessoa’s personality and its Kabbalistic counterpart. In HLadA the animated optical illusion was the perfect medium to suggest not only our symbolic subconscious processing but also its illusionary trickeries for it mirrored one single true symbol/icon several times using a whirling swift rotation. I started doing animations back in 2001, and by 2004 I was using them to do Vjing in London. That was an escape from other overly conceptual works that I was engaged in – Vjing is all about spontaneity and so I did it to fill the gap of such rigidity with animations that were purely experimental, thus synaesthesia really gave me the freedom of movement and thought I was lacking in some other more precisely intended work. I then decided to start an animation film project that would be the matrix of all my future work – a sort of symbolic mapping guideline for posterior work and I began HyperLightness that soon proved to be a Herculean task… I did not give up till it was finalised and all its research, over 60 intricate geometrical hand-drawn studies plus models, the poems and the animation took me six years to complete…

E: Did you anticipate that it would take this long? When you first conceived HyperLightness ad absurdum, how long did you expect it would take to assemble?

MS: In the first few months I kept telling myself that it was almost finished and then everyday a new twist, concept, symbol, experience, image, idea sprung and after one year I fully understood it would take me years to complete it. I also realized in that year of 2005 when the whole work was drawn out and I was still in London that I needed to split HyperLightness into three different outputs so things didn’t become too heavy in one single work and thus I instead decided to assemble three works that would complement each other – a book of poems and symbols titled HyperLightness ad infinitum, the animation called HyperLightness ad absurdum and a website as HyperLightness ad aeternum. HyperLightness ad absurdum was completed September last year and the book and the website will be published later this year.

E: Could you tell us about the importance of the role of Sacred Geometry in your work in general and in HyperLightness ad absurdum in particular?

MS: I believe from spiritual experience that sacred geometry unlocks hidden passages of our consciousness. The religiousness embodied by these forms and proportions emanate millenary energy of faith and mystical worship, which contemporary man now dismisses as something lost and as a past vain procedure, but I do not agree with that assumption for I believe that faith as well as love is never lost, thus quite the contrary, it probably is the only thing in every human being that lives on forever. In my view, our mind/soul not only (as Plato asserted) has innate imprinted archetypal forms prior to our awareness, but this being the resultant consequence of a perpetual emotional state of prayer and deep wishing along with strong belief generating very simple forms and evolving in a semiotic mode without our conscientious awareness. In other words, what I’m saying is that our emotions according to our needs propel faith and belief (many times blind belief) may have formed throughout aeons deep inside our consciousness a mesh of symbols that relate to the essence of what surrounds us and, therefore, it is in a constant collective unconscious evolution. This unconscious growth of forms would then explain why we have the capacity to recognize perceptions such as Time, Space, Love, Hate, Chaos, Harmony etc. and constantly “remember” them in a new light.

Thus to evoke this innate isomorphism, the ancient Pythagoreans used a secret ritualistic practice to pass on what they believed to be a gift from God - the Tetractys - the germ of the Musica Universalis or Harmony of the Spheres based on geometrical musical ratios; so do Hindus and Buddhists everywhere till today endlessly draw, contemplate and meditate upon geometrical based images (mandalas & yantras) as a ritualistic process that they will not rescind; and the unveiling of the geometry in the sacred Jewish, Greek and Arabic alphabets that acknowledges the hermetic geometrical understanding of the Bible’s Old Testament is the work of the Kabbalist. By doing so all these “believers” somehow touched the very essence of understanding the absurd, or, as Einstein so well put it “The eternal mystery of the Universe is its comprehensibility.” – they hence become acquainted with eternal structures that are beyond time and change for these constants are irrationally invariable and thus form the very link between nature and man’s knowledge or perception of it. Accepting these gnosiological notions annihilates duality and every polarised conception becomes whole. By squaring the circle, finding the Baühutte point in the drawing of the Vesica Piscis, by interlocking the nine triangles of the Shri Yantra, designing the Cosmic Egg, linking all the ratios and angles of Platonic geometrical solids of cosmic tessitura in a “symphonic” composition ruled by “dynamic symmetry” corresponding in space to eurhythmy in time, by finding the Golden Mean in the Pentalpha and Star of David and meditating upon its geometrical Golden Triangles contributing for the understanding of Phi with its gnomonic progression and going back to Pi, and much, much more… the initiate encounters the sublime in what it is called an anthropomorphic vision of creation which is concealed in every temple of every religion as well as in the forms of galaxies and quantum patterns. Thus, for these reasons and beyond I define the semiotics of such symbolic procedures as the fundamental basis of my practice and in HyperLightness ad absurdum they were combined according to intricate complementary personal and universal foundations, that in brief, can be described as manifestations of belief cannons such as the Tree of Life, the Flower of Life, the Yin and Yang, the Cosmic Egg, the Wheel, the Sri Yantra, the Lotus Flower and a Celtic mandala; so that the work evokes the meaning and epitome proportions carried by these symbols and relates them to the polarized transcendental archetypal opposites – Space and Time, Love and Pain, Light and Mirror, Heart and Mind – as the unseen origin of the further geometrical solids of cosmic tessitura that form an hermetic unity through symmetry or modular repetition combining the singular and plural where the law of the excluded middle has no place.


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