All things transitory
Are only symbols;
What is insufficient,
Here becomes an event;
Here is accomplished;
The eternal feminine
Pulls us upwards.”
Goethe: Faust II, Vers 12104 ff. / Chorus mysticus – Closing verses to Faust II
The link between the works of the artists Isabel Consigliere (Italy), Irene Cruz (Spain-Germany) and Belen Ordovas (Spain) is undoubtedly the subtle, and perhaps sometimes unconscious, representation of the feminine. The eternal feminine, that favor Dei that every woman possesses within herself, inherently, and that is not to be confused with the femininity, ensemble of the physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics judged by a specific culture to be ideally associated with the idea of women, in distinction from men. Looking at the works of Consigliere, Ordovas and Cruz, one feels embraced by the intimate secret of the eternal feminine, which, as Rudolf Steiner said about the Goethe’s verses introducing this text: “here he means the female sex. He refers to that profundity signifying the human soul as related to the mystery of the world (…) It has nothing to do with something feminine in the ordinary sense. Therefore can we truly seek this ever-womanly in man and woman: the ever-womanly which aspires to the union with the ever-manly in the cosmos, to become one with the Divine-Spiritual that inter-penetrates and permeates the world towards which Faust strives.”
Discreet as a maiden from the past , bearer of the feminine mystery, the message in the works of these three artists – admirably transmitted by each through their own medium: painting, photography and sculpture – is never shouted, blatant, exuberant, nor highlighted in an explicit way, but it rather comes across in a subtle, acute and delicate way, for the attentive eyes that will be able to read it.
The oil paintings by artist Belen Ordovas are psychological paintings. To confirm the Jungian theory wanting the creative drive based on the common archetypes of the collective unconscious to later blossom and act autonomously – spacing between symbolic and non-symbolic – to become an expression of the primordial feelings of the human race, the women portrayed by the Ordovas are a representation of the inner conflict of our kind.
The artist herself defines her art as “introspection and intimate commitment”. Ambiguity, weakness, jealousy, shyness, contradiction, melancholy, are feelings that we all have experienced at least once in our lives, but when Ordovas fixes them on her linen canvases, she returns them transformed by her delicate brush strokes. What is normally hidden in our inner-self, in the part of us of which we are not forcibly proud and which makes us feel fragile and exposed, it is manifest, there before our eyes, ready to confront us, on canvas, in the form of graceful dancers or young women suspended in cold and alienating non-spaces. These empty spaces, devoid of colour and shape, sometimes left unfinished and barely mentioned, emphasise the universality of the message by depriving the main subject from any logistical and temporal reference. The incompleteness, a fundamental part of the works of the Ordovas, which from space attacks the subject, is an active part of the composition. Like hope – an equally universal feeling – nourishes our soul, the unfinished parts in the paintings by this Spanish artist, remind us that everything is in progress and in perpetual transformation, including the inner conflict that hurts us so deeply.
The Feminine portrayed in the photographs of Berlin based artist Irene Cruz is of clear Hellenic inspiration. Like the Muses, divine daughters of the god Apollo and the Titaness Mnemosyne, have inspired artists, musicians and poets since the dawn of time for compositions coming directly and sincerely from the artist’s pathos – transmuting personal feeling into universal feelings – the muses and the young fauns immortalised by Cruz’s camera whisper a familiar litany in our ears.The selection of photographs presented in the exhibition, shoot between 2014 and 2018, immortalises portraits in a landscape that is not only favourable for environmental and philosophical reflections, but also for pure aesthetic contemplation. The light is cold and crepuscular, and contributes to give a sense of timelessness almost sacred to the composition, as if Cruz managed to photograph the essence of an intimate dream, dreamt simultaneously by the collectivity.The hope of a return to an harmonious relationship with the rest of nature is also palpable in the work of this young photographer: the landscape and the human subjects appear in their primitive communion, where co-belonging is obvious and harmony is evident, as it used to be in the mythological Arcadia ruled by the god Pan. In this communion between mankind and nature the bodies – masculine and feminine – are sometimes indistinguishable from one another once again to confirm Steiner’s theory on the cosmic feminine transcending genders.
Under the title Physis goes the series presented in this exhibition by Isabel Consigliere, linking this exhibition with her personal show in the Project Room: SUBTILIA, also spinning around the theme of sacred feminine.
To pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, Physis meant nature, understood as first and fundamental essence, principle and cause of all things. Consigliere interprets it also as our inner self, the most recondite and delicate part of our being. The term is enriched by various meanings in the philosophical and scientific terminology, intended as the force of nature and the ordering divinity of the Kosmos, but is nevertheless perceived as a feminine element.
Taking up the Christian iconography of reliquary, Physis by Consigliere presents itself in the form of petals and flowers that flow from slots in anatomical sections made of beeswax, to remind us that behind the violence, the noise, the superficiality to which every day we adapt, flows in us an original soul, pure and powerful. A tribute to that part of us that makes us able to feel, create, understand and empathise. The exclusive use of natural materials, wisely treated by the artist for conservation, also leads to highlight the obvious conjunction of our personal Physis with the one of the rest of Kosmos. Again a case where “the eternal feminine who yearns for the eternal masculine in the cosmos to unite with him, to become one with the spiritual Divinity that pervades the world, acting in the world”