“Talismanic” describes artworks that evoke traditional talismans and amulets but that aren’t intended for ritualistic or divinatory use. For example, assemblage artist Betye Saar engaged in a ritual-like process to gather found objects—feathers, bones, and other items traditionally vested with power in African art—for her sculptures, which she often referred to as “mojos.” Recently, performance artist Marina Abramović has presented a series of shamanistic sculptures, all sharing the title The Communicator, that involve healing crystals emerging from wax faces and hands. These artists, and others working in this vein, encourage viewers to consider the tradition—spanning cultures and human history—of endowing objects with mystical capabilities.

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65 Artworks
65 Artworks: