Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blavatsky at the Biennale

Much press has been generated on the subject of “Teosofi e pensiero teosofico alla Biennale di Venezia,” to use a June 19 headline in ArtinItaly, at this year’s Biennale because of the inclusion of Hilma af Klint and other artists associated with Theosophy. The piece in ArtinItaly explains:

Hilma af Klint, già ampiamente storicizzata come pioniera dell’astrazione, è un’altra artista e teosofa presente in questa mostra: la Klint si avvicinò inizialmente alla Teosofia per “disintossicarsi” dallo spiritismo, fenomeno che aveva attratto molti intellettuali dell’epoca, e per arginare il quale, tra altre e più importanti ragioni, sorse la Società Teosofica, fondata a Londra nel 1875 a New York da Helena Petrovna Blavatsky ed Henry Steel Olcott. Alfine ella ne trasse, per prima, la pittura astratta, come accadde poi a Kandinsky e Pollock. Presente, tra gli altri, anche un film breve dell’americano Harry Smith, forse un cenno al contributo che la Teosofia diede al cinema, che trovò il primo e tra i più grandi adepti il cineasta Jean Renoir. 

Marino Auriti’s Enciclopedico Palazzo del Mondo (The Encyclopedic Palace of the World) provides the theme for this year’s exhibition, which draws from the past 100 years, and includes Jung’s Red Book, and drawings by Rudolph Steiner. Auriti’s piece, which will be on view, is owned by the American Folk Art Museum in New York. Created in Pennsylvania in the 1950s, the structure—made of wood, plastic, metal, hair combs, and model-making kit parts—“stands 11 feet high and occupies a footprint of 7 feet by 7 feet. With a 1:200 scale, the Palazzo was imagined to be built in Washington, DC, and stand nearly 2,300 feet tall (a half mile [136 stories !]) and span 16 city blocks. Auriti affirmed that his building was ‘an entirely new concept in museums, designed to hold all the works of man in whatever field, discoveries made and those which may follow . . . everything from the wheel to the satellite.’ So dedicated was the artist to his vision that he had it patented.”  All that is needed is a model of a Keely Motor next to it.

Marino Auriti (1891–1980), Enciclopedico Palazzo del Mondo (c.1950s)

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