Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arte e Cultura: Tantra Song

Stumbled upon these beauties while perusing the NY Times...

Franck André Jamme says this linga, with its heart-shaped prow, might symbolize an alliance of the Hindu deities Shiva and Vishnu; a work used to train the eye of apprentices.

Jamme says this is a "meditation on the possible and necessary balance of things."

Jamme says this painting is a meditation on "the endless dance of energy."

Here are Kali's "28 dazzling tongues."

This work refers to the Kali, the goddess of time, who represents destruction and death.

"This collection of rare, abstract Tantric painting originates in French poet Franck André Jamme’s journey to India twenty-five years ago when he first searched in vain for the source of these intensely beautiful and concise works. On the road to Jaipur, he survived a deadly bus accident, returning to Paris with wounds that took two years to heal. Back in India just a few years later, he met a soothsayer who proclaimed that Jamme, in his suffering, had paid sufficient tribute to the goddess Shakti and—so long as he vowed to visit the tantrikas alone or with someone he truly loves—he could enter the very private communities of adepts who make and use these paintings for their spiritual practice.

While they invoke the highly symbolic cosmology of Hindu Tantra, these contemporary, anonymous drawings from Rajasthan are unlike the more familiar strands of Tantric art. The progeny of hand-written, illustrated religious treatises from the 17th century, copied across many generations, these drawings have evolved into a distinct visual lexicon used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. Like musicians playing ragas of classical Indian music, tantrikas draw in a concentrated state of mental rapture, repeating and subtly reinterpreting melodic structures of line and color. When complete, the drawings—made in tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged paper—are pinned to the wall to use in private meditation.

Possessing an uncanny affinity with a range of 20th century abstract art, the paintings also have a magnetic, vibratory beauty that inspires acute attention even in the uninitiated. Jamme has written brief, luminous texts that further open readers to their subtle magic and enrich the space for boundless contemplation. Drawing on a unique body of knowledge accumulated over two decades, Jamme has assembled a singular and revelatory collection, in which East and West, the spiritual and the aesthetic, the ancient and the modern converge."

Tantra Song by Franck André Jamme can be pre-ordered here.

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