Group ShowAnima Mundi
Los Angeles, Garage No. 1 | June 5 - July 20
Artists: Anja Salonen & L in collaboration, Jacob Sorkin, Nina Klein, Black Pothead and BF Hall
As we hurtle forward into climate catastrophe and a simultaneous unprecedented integration of new technologies into lived experience, we are promised both apocalypse and transcendent salvation, reminded that this world - containing both river and CPU - is alive beyond, with and within us. As the artist has always known, and now again the citizen must realise: material possesses latent consciousness. Said differently: the ultramodern sensation of hyperconnectivity was born not by industry, but by the very ancient development of ecosystem, borne itself not by organism, but by the eternal processes of stone and heat.
The world soul (Latin: anima mundi) is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to the world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. Plato adhered to this idea, claiming:
This world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.
Presently, how do we relate to our world as a living system in crisis, our larger body in pain, mourning incalculable losses while imagining new futures sprouting from the cracks of the old. Stone monuments, clay relics, and the desire for mark making point to our ability to bend the scale across which relations unfold, opening time to more than human duration.
Monument can memorialize that which would otherwise be swallowed into time, forging space for ritual grief and stretching our temporal notions to geologic expanses. These objects may communicate collective mythologies durationally, but just as ideologies that have appeared impervious falter and crumble, monuments must also topple as we reckon with history. In this moment, where an assurance of continuity is lost, how do we communicate through deep time?
Black Pothead’s ceramics reference the ‘Face Jugs’ brought to America by enslaved peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, subsequently introduced to the greater American populace by enslaved people in the Edgefield district of South Carolina during the 1890’s. The jugs acted as gravestones and religious shrines, communication devices to celebrate lost loved ones throughout time.
Anja Salonen and L collaborate in a vision of deep space; a luminous light burst is both the emergence and the void, the gateway of death and rebirth of a world. BF Hall’s stone carvings employ the ancient agency of marble to reveal image, while Jacob Sorkin’s stained glass billboards transmute light into pattern, color and form, echoing Goethe’s own assertion of the Anima Mundi, and man’s capacity to recognize it : “That life is ours by colorful refraction” (Faust P1) .
Similarly, the sun itself melts and disperses into liquid light in Nina Klein’s painting. Forging our felt sense of World as alive, ANIMA MUNDI asks us to stretch our empathy to lithic duration, meet the gaze of the present moment, and expand our imaginations to see new futures in clarity.
Written by Anja Salonen and Jacob Sorkin