samedi 14 septembre 2013

Aleister Crowley & Rosaleen Norton, peintres

La Jérusalem des Terres Froides a trouvé un petit article sur la période peintre d'Aleister Crowley qui ne fait pas dans la diabolisation gratuite, comme c'est le cas en général quand les massmédias parlent de cet homme. Il a été repris ici avec les images accompagnant l'original. Les deux peintures de Crowley font partie de la « collection de Palerme » (16 oeuvres) et on les retrouve dans le recueil Peintures inconnues d'Aleister Crowley. La collection de Palerme, paru chez Archè Milan en 2008.

Aleister Crowley and esoteric art open window to the sacred

Par Andrew Taylor
Paru dans le Sydney Morning Herald le 6 septembre 2013

Artists are renowned for leading debauched lives but few were as outrageous as the English occultist Aleister Crowley, described by one Sunday newspaper as "the wickedest man in the world".

Also known as The Great Beast 666, Crowley set up the occultist "anti-monastery" The Abbey of Thelema in 1920 and was a frequent drug user who had ritual sex with both men and women.

His portraits, landscapes and trance paintings were created as part of his occult practices and influenced by symbolism and expressionism, says curator Robert Buratti.

 Influenced by symbolism and expressionism: Aleister Crowley.
Influenced by symbolism and expressionism: Aleister Crowley

His work, like those created by the "witch of Kings Cross", Rosaleen Norton, sought out the divine, but were shunned by the art world.

"Its premise lies in the idea that art can succeed where organised religion has failed," Buratti says. "Hence the movement has suffered the disdain of wider society, who prefer that art exists as simple decoration."

Crowley and Norton are among the artists whose works are on show in Windows to the Sacred: An Exploration of the Esoteric at S.H. Ervin Gallery.

Vilified in her lifetime: Rosaleen Norton, artist and ?"witch of Kings Cross".
Vilified in her lifetime: Rosaleen Norton, artist and "witch of Kings Cross"

The exhibition also includes works by Canadian Jeff Martin and others who have been influenced by Crowley and Collective 777, the art guild of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a religious cult led by him in the early 20th century.

Also included is work by Indigenous artist Danie Mellor, who uses the symbols of Freemasonry to approach the secret tribal knowledge of indigenous Australians and their culture clash with the West.

"Often the imagery of esoteric art is confronting, and certainly not something to match your curtains to,"

Esoteric: Aleister Crowley's The Moon (Study for Tarot) 1920, oil on board.
Esoteric: Aleister Crowley's The Moon (Study for Tarot) 1920, oil on board. Photo: Ordo Templi Orientis

Buratti says. "Rosaleen Norton wasn't creating work to meet a fashionable market, and Aleister Crowley certainly wasn't painting to please the aristocrats."

Norton's graphic illustrations and paintings of devils and demons appear quaint these days, but were regarded as pornographic and obscene in the 1930s and '40s, with police regularly removing her artwork from public display.

She became even more notorious after becoming the lover of English conductor Sir Eugene Goossens, who was arrested for trying to bring 800 erotic photographs, film and ritual masks into Australia from London.

Artists like Crowley and Norton suffered intense vilification during their lifetime, but became influential figures in popular culture.

Crowley was included on the cover sleeve of the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page collected his clothing, manuscripts and ritual objects and Ozzy Osbourne released a song titled Mr. Crowley.

Norton's life has been depicted on stage and inspired a number of books including Homage to Pan: The Life, Art and Sex Magick of Rosaleen Norton.

Buratti says esoteric art is usually part of a personal spiritual practice, often of a ritual or magical nature.

"It fundamentally asks the artist to delve into their own existence, and the artwork functions like a diary of that ordeal or a prompt to delve even further," he says.

He says esoteric artists such as Norton and James Gleeson, the father of Australian Surrealism, use techniques like meditative trance to find a deeper truth.

"Sometimes the resulting images can be very disturbing, while others manifest a kind of beauty that only esoteric art seems to conjure."

Windows to the Sacred is on at S.H. Ervin Gallery until September 29.

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