Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blavatsky News

 *  Bucerius Kunst Forum in Hamburg has on view until May 11 the exhibition Mondrian. Color, which focuses on the painter’s use of colour and acknowledges the influence of Blavatsky on his theories. The exhibition includes 40 key works from the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. The German paper Weser Kurier in its review of the exhibition comments on Mondrian’s familiarity with Blavatsky:

Starken Einfluss übte auf ihn aber auch das 1888 erschienene Buch „Geheimlehre“ der deutsch-russischen Okkultistin und Gründerin der „Theosophischen Gesellschaft“, Helena Blavatsky, aus. Bilder wie das auratisch aufgeladene 1908 entstandene Mädchenporträt „Andacht“ in leuchtendem Orange huldigen der theosophischen Vorstellung eines im Universellen der Natur aufgehenden Individuums.

“Experiments with Theosophical Truth: Gandhi, Esotericism, and Global Religious History” by Michael Bergunder, in the January online issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, makes a claim that is not usually stressed:

There is strong textual evidence to suggest that M. K. Gandhi's notion of Hinduism, his specific view of Christianity, and his general belief that all religions refer to the same truth were shaped by esotericism, namely the Theosophical Society and the Esoteric Christian Union.…it is argued that the impact of esotericism on global religious history, from the nineteenth century to early twentieth, needs to be investigated with more academic rigor.

*  New Zealand film and theatre maker Julia Campbell, one of the people behind the production on Mme. Blavatsky at this year’s New Zealand Fringe Festival, has posted copies of the flyers for her show “Madame Blavatsky and the Astral Light,” which will be performed February 13 to 16, 2 PM and 7 PM. Discussing her choice of Blavatsky as the subject of her show, she says:

Madame Blavatsky is the founder of the Theosophical society and widely regarded as the bringing new age religion to America. This colourful Russian heiress ran away from marriage to a much older politician at age 19 to travel the world. A highly accomplished and talented young woman, she met her “Master” in London and consequently followed him to India and Tibet where she studied Mysticism. Here her biography gets hazy and nobody is sure where truth meets fiction but she came to New York in 1873 to start the theosophy society.…Such an strong, defiant polarising woman should make a great subject for a show.

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