BY KARL MONIES
5 DECEMBER 2019 – 23 JANUARY 2020
Etage Projects is proud to present the solo exhibition by Karl Monies, entitled ‘Arcana’, meaning ‘secrets, mysteries’. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as ‘the art’. Monies believes that art, like magic, is the science of manipulating symbols, words, sounds or images, to achieve changes in consciousness, that art is the essential link between the inner landscapes of one’s psyche and the outside material world.
The realms of magic might seem obscure to the uninitiated. So the first solo show by Karl Monies at Etage Projects does not offer explanations or interpretations but instead displays, to the viewers’ allure, utilitarian objects to aid the practitioner in a range of magical ceremonies, such as Invocations, evocations and manifestations, in his version of a magicians’ utility shop. In the classical elementary magic, there are four suits: water, earth, fire and air, which in turn corresponds to cups, pentacles, wands and swords in The Tarot. In ‘Arcana’ each series of instruments are designated to one of the elements.
Seven hand-sewn blankets representing the seven planets (classical heavenly bodies) are hung on the walls encapsulating the space intended to be activated in a ritualistic setting. Planetary magic lies at the root of all astrological, alchemical, and Kabbalistic traditions. Based on the nature of the chosen objective, the planetary spirits and the energy they represent along with current constellations are relevant factors in actualizing the prayer with the use of planetary powers. These prayer mats correspond to the element of earth, referring in Tarot to the Pentacles (work, security, stability, money, family, health, physicality).
Tall plinths made out of bricks stand as tableaux for the series named ‘Containers’. Apart from the omnipresent concept of a ceramic vessel, which has been used throughout history by almost every culture all over the world, the containers are symbolic items that bring forth a myriad of connotations. In Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Carrier Bag Theory Of Fiction’ the container is seen as the predominant tool contrary to the classic stories of the first tool as a weapon. The container served as a protective or conserving entity reminiscent of the body or figure in ancient cultures. It appears in Greek mythology as Pandora’s Box (which was actually a jar) and The Cup of Heracles, in the Irish lore as Leprechaun’s pot of gold and in biblical stories as Noah’s basket or the Holy Chalice of Jesus. In this ceremonial context, the ‘containers’ refer to the element of water and cups of Tarot (intuition, feelings, emotions, relationships and creativity).
The solid aluminium candelabras represent fire in this curation, which turns us to one of the purest forms of spell casting. Instead of hoping for a wish to come true, these are made to declare intentions before blowing out the candle. Fire is the equal of wands in Tarot (action, initiative, invention, passion, energy).
Go to artist page: Karl Monies