Things from my Things Drawer

I was inspired to make this piece while contemplating the little gold charm bracelet that I’ve worn almost every day for over 20 years. It struck me how little it would be worth to anyone but me, as the true value is in the meaning attached to each individual charm, all the memories preserved and provoked when I look at them.

Each charm has a complete, standalone story of its own, and when linked together on a single chain they become part of an even more intricate and meaningful whole.  A metaphor for life, really, as who we are is the sum of our myriad parts, all invaluable.

I have always had a “things” drawer in my kitchen, a Purgatory for random objects that don’t fit or belong anywhere else. Some are waiting to be useful again, some waiting to be repaired, some waiting for their pair to show up, and some have been in there so long that the outside world has forgotten they exist.

This things drawer has been moved from rental house to rental house over the years, and i thought it was time to explore it. Spending so long with each random piece, cleaning it, preparing its surface and gilding it, then linking them all together was quite an amazing experience. Every single seemingly insignificant castaway had a story to remind me of. Every single thing had once had purpose, played a part in my life. Remembering the tiny ways in which each object had served me over the years prompted all the surrounding memories to surface. I was able to see patterns and links and make sense of the chaos. It was just the start of a very important and ongoing process.

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Nazi-Acquired Buddha Statue Came From Outer Space

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Date: 26 September 2012 Time: 01:12 PM ET
A Buddha statue dating back to the 8th to 10th centuries is carved from a rare iron meteorite.
CREDIT: Elmar Buchne

It sounds like a mash-up of Indiana Jones’ plots, but German researchers say a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.

This space Buddha, also known as “iron man” to the researchers, is of unknown age, though the best estimates date the statue to sometime between the eighth and 10th centuries. The carving depicts a man, probably a Buddhist god, perched with his legs tucked in, holding something in his left hand. On his chest is a Buddhist swastika, a symbol of luck that was later co-opted by the Nazi party of Germany.

“One can speculate whether the swastika symbol on the statue was a potential motivation to displace the ‘iron man’ meteorite artifact to Germany,” the researchers wrote online Sept. 14 in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

Iron man adventure

The iron man first came to Germany after a 1938-1939 Tibet expedition by zoologist and ethnology Ernst Schäfer, who was sent to the region by the Nazi party to find the roots of Aryan origin. The statue then passed into the hands of a private owner. [Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites]

Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues first analyzed the statue in 2007, when the owner allowed them to take five miniscule samples of it. In 2009, the team had the opportunity to take larger samples from the inside of the statue, which is less prone to contamination by weathering or human handling than the outside where the initial samples were taken.

They found that the statue is carved from a rare class of space rocks known as ataxite meteorites. These mostly iron meteorites have a high level of nickel. The largest-ever known meteorite, the Hoba meteorite of Namibia, is an ataxite meteorite that may weigh more than 60 tons.

It came from outer space

A chemical analysis of the iron man samples revealed they are a close match for a famous scattering of space rocks from the Siberia and Mongolian border. The Chinga meteorite field holds at least 250 meteorite fragments, most relatively small, though two topping 22 pounds (10 kg) have been found there. Scientists estimate the Chinga meteorite fell 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field’s first discovery was recorded in 1913, but the statue’s existence suggests people were mining the field for artistic materials long before that, Buchner said.

The Buddha meteorite matches those found in the Chinga meteorite field. CREDIT: Elmar Buchner

The identity of the carved man is unclear, but the researchers suspect he may be the Buddhist god Vaisravana, also known as Jambhala. Vaisravana is the god of wealth or war, and he is often portrayed holding a lemon (a symbol of wealth) or moneybag in his hand. The iron man holds an unidentified object in his hand. The statue is about 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and weighs about 23 pounds (10.6 kg).

Many cultures used meteorite iron to make daggers and even jewelry, Buchner and his colleagues wrote, and meteorite worship is common among many ancient cultures. But the Buddha carving is unique.

“The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” Buchner said in a statement. “Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

 

http://www.livescience.com/23483-nazi-buddha-carved-meteorite.html

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Analysing Louise Bourgeois: art, therapy and Freud

Christopher Turner

Saturday 7 April 2012 07.45 AEST

Louise Bourgeois was in therapy for more than 30 years and wrote an essay on ‘Freud’s Toys’. The Freud museum in London has a display of her work and recently unearthed writings about her analysis

Louise Bourgeois working on Sleep II in Italy, 1967. Photograph: Studio Fotografico, Carrara /The Easton Foundation

Above Freud’s bulbous, oriental carpet-draped couch in 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, hangs a shrivelled, double-headed bronze penis by Louise Bourgeois. In an essay on “Freud’s Toys” (1990), as Bourgeois dismissed the ancient artefacts that swarm over his desk and shelves (including numerous phallic amulets), she described Freud’s cluttered office, with its “half-dead hysterics”, as “a pitiful place”. She also referred to Freud’s patients as “maggots”, which gives additional resonance to the placing of her suspended larval form. Analysis was, in her view, a form of metamorphosis, promising the transformation of seething misery into what Freud described as “common unhappiness”. “A maggot,” Bourgeois wrote, “is actually a symbol of resurrection.”

Though she doesn’t acknowledge it in her essay, Bourgeois had been in analysis herself for more than 30 years. In 1951, suffering from depression after her father’s death, she entered therapy with Dr Leonard Cammer. The following year she switched to Dr Henry Lowenfeld, a second-generation Freudian who had emigrated to New York in 1938, the same year she did. Lowenfeld had been trained by the Marxist analyst Otto Fenichel in Berlin, where he was also a part of Wilhelm Reich’s radical group, Sex-Pol.

However, in New York, keen to assimilate to American culture and disenchanted with communism, Lowenfeld became part of the psychoanalytic mainstream and hid his radical past. At the height of the cold war he stole the incriminating Rundbriefe – letters written by Fenichel in the 1930s and circulated among their group of dissident analysts – from his colleague Annie Reich in an attempt to erase that history.

In 2007, just before Bourgeois’s retrospective at Tate Modern, two boxes of discarded writings that refer to her analysis, which she underwent four times a week, were found in her Chelsea home; after her death in 2010 (aged 98), her assistant unearthed two more. Selections of these have been exhibited in the Freud museum alongside two dozen of her bulging and sinister patchwork sculptures and installations. These jottings, on random pads, letterheads, even playing cards, offer a glimpse into Bourgeois’s psychological states. According to these notes, Lowenfeld considered the artist’s inability to accept her aggression as the central problem to be worked through in analysis. “Aggression is used by guilt and turned against myself instead of being sublimated into useful channels,” she wrote.

To art historians her free associations and doodles not only suggest clues as to the personal relationships and conflicts that inform all her work, but seem to offer direct links to her creative process (one Isis-like sketch is displayed here next to a similar multi-breasted sculpture, as fecund as the Venus of Willendorf). In an aborted letter to “Mon cher Papa”, Bourgeois wrote: “In the 20th century the best work has been produced by those people whose exclusive concern was themselves.” Her father was a tyrannical philanderer who had a 10-year affair with a live-in English governess, the discovery of which was the central trauma to which Bourgeois endlessly returned in her confessional work.

The recently discovered archive reveals the artist to have been an enthusiastic list-maker. In 1958, aged 47, Bourgeois compiled a melancholy account of her failures: “I have failed as a wife / as a woman / as a mother / as a hostess / as an artist / as a business woman”, and so on. She made a suicidal list of “seven easy ways to end it all” (and throws in another for good measure). She listed her fears: “I am afraid of silence / I am afraid of the dark / I am afraid to fall down/ I am afraid of insomnia / I am afraid of emptiness …” And her feelings about analysis: “The analysis is a job / is a trap / is a privilege / is a luxury / is a duty … is a joke / makes me powerless / makes me into a cop / is a bad dream …”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/apr/06/louise-bourgeois-freud

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Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington dies, aged 94

Sculptor Leonora Carrington, considered one of the last of the original surrealist artists, has died at the age of 94, Mexican officials have said.

British-born Carrington arrived in Mexico after she escaped from a mental hospital and fled Nazi Europe.

She settled in the country, becoming a national treasure, and creating works of art that depicted mythical worlds.

As well as sculptures, she wrote articles, novels, essays and poems exhibited around the world.

“She was the last great living surrealist,” her friend, poet Homero Aridjis said. “She was a living legend.”

She was famed for haunting, dreamlike works focusing on strange ritual-like scenes with birds, cats, unicorn-like creatures and other animals.

Life of drama

She died on Wednesday after suffering from a respiratory illness, Mexico’s National Council for Culture and Arts said.

Ms Carrington’s life was full of dramatic twists and turns.

Born in Lancashire, England, into an aristocratic industrial family in 1917 she took up painting at a young age.

 

These were some of the images that sprang from a mind obsessed with portraying a reality that transcends what can be seen

Mexico National Arts Council

At 20 she moved to Paris, falling in love with Surrealist painter Max Ernst, who was 26 years older than her.

He introduced her to major figures within the movement including Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro and the founder of the group, Andre Breton.

She held her first surrealist painting exhibits in 1938 in both Paris and Amsterdam.

After Ernst was arrested by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France in 1939 she fell into a deep depression and was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Santander, Spain.

She managed to escape and, in Lisbon, she married the Mexican poet and journalist Renato Leduc.

In 1942 , they travelled to Mexico where she settled permanently, befriending painter Frida Kahlo and future Nobel laureate Octavio Paz.

She married her second husband, the Hungarian-born writer-photographer Emerico “Chiki” Weisz, in 1946 and had two children.

“She created mythical worlds in which magical beings and animals occupy the main stage, in which cobras merge with goats and blind crows become trees,” the National Arts Council wrote.

“These were some of the images that sprang from a mind obsessed with portraying a reality that transcends what can be seen.”

via BBC News – Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington dies.

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