THE SPECIAL LOVE by Ibn el Arabi

Mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammad Ibn el Arabi is one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers. He was born in Murcia, Al-Andalus in 1165 and his writings had an immense impact throughout the Islamic world and beyond.

The most famous idea attributed to el Arabi is wahdat al-wojud “the oneness of being.” Although he never employs the term, the idea is implicit throughout his writings. In the manner of both theologians and philosophers, Ibn el Arabi employs the term wojud to refer to God as the Necessary Being. Like them, he also attributes the term to everything other than God, but he insists that wojud does not belong to the things found in the cosmos in any real sense. Rather things borrow wojud from God, much as the earth borrows light from the sun.

THE SPECIAL LOVE
by Ibn el Arabi

As the full moon appears from the night, so appears
her face amid the tresses.

From sorrow comes the perception of her: the eyes
crying on the cheek; life the black narcissus
Shedding tears upon a rose.

More beauties are silenced: her fair quality is
overwhelming.

Even to think of her harms her subtlety (thought is
Too coarse a thing to perceive her). If this be
So, how can she correctly be seen by such a clumsy
organ as the eye?

Her fleeting wonder eludes thought.
She is beyond the spectrum of sight.

When description tried to explain her, she overcame it.
Whenever such an attempt is made, description is
put to flight.

Because it is trying to circumscribe.

If someone seeking her lowers his aspirations (to
Feel in terms of ordinary love),
– there are always others who will not do so.

ibn el arabi

MAD GIRL’S LOVE SONG by Sylvia Plath

MAD GIRL’S LOVE SONG
By Sylvia Plath

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

1953

In Memoriam: Asim Butt

Asim Butt (1978 – 2010) was a Pakistani painter and sculptor, with an interest in graffiti and printmaking. He was a member of the Stuckist art movement. He spoke out against the imposition of a state of emergency in Pakistan, in November 2007, by starting an “art protest” movement. He spray-stencilled the “eject” symbol (a red triangle over a red rectangle) all over Karachi. That image has now become widespread in the city. He said it was to “eject the military from the presidency.” A tribute: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2010/01/15/death-artist-asim-butt-1978-2010

The pleasures of life are blinding…

The pleasures of life are blinding; it is love alone that clears the rust from the heart, the mirror of the soul.

Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

The heart of man, as the Sufis say, is a mirror. All that is reflected in this mirror is projected upon other mirrors. When man has doubt in his heart that doubt is reflected upon every heart with which he comes in contact. When he has faith that faith is reflected in every heart. Can there be a more interesting study and a greater wonder than to observe this keenly?

There must be no feeling of revenge, of unkindness, of bitterness against anyone in the heart. When such a feeling comes, one must say: this is rust coming into my heart. When all such feelings are cleared off the heart, it becomes like a mirror. A mirror without rust reflects all that is before it; then everything divine is reflected in the heart.

The heart aflame becomes the torch on the path of the lover, which lightens his way that leads him to his destination. The pleasures of life are blinding, it is love alone that clears the rust from the heart, the mirror of the soul.

Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul

Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2007): A visual poem of incomparable beauty, this masterpiece from director Nacer Khemir (Searchers of the Desert) begins with the story of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar. Together they wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every thirty years. With faith as their only guide, the two journey for days through the expansive, barren landscape. To keep Ishtar entertained, Bab’Aziz relays the ancient tale of a prince who relinquished his realm in order to remain next to a small pool in the desert, staring into its depths while contemplating his soul. As the tale of the prince unfolds, the two encounter other travelers with stories of their own–including Osman, who longs for the beautiful woman he met at the bottom of a well, and Zaid, who searches for the ravishing young woman who fled from him after being seduced by his songs. Filled with breathtaking images and wonderful music, Nacir Khemir has created a fairytale-like story of longing and belonging, filmed in the enchanting and ever-shifting sandscapes of Tunisia and Iran. (From YouTube)

Blind Willie Johnson Trouble Soon be Over

“From 1927. Johnson was blinded by his stepmother when he was 7. He grew up to be a preacher and musician. He was one of the greatest bottleneck guitarists as well as one of the most revered figures of depression-era gospel music. His music is distinguished by his powerful bass thumb-picking and gravelly voice. In 1945, his home burned to the ground and with nowhere else to go, he lived in the burned ruins of his home sleeping on a wet bed. He lived like this until he contracted pneumonia and died. So 18 years after this song, he got his wish. His troubles were finally over. What a wonderful song this is – the misery of povery making death something to look forward to. I have no idea who the young girl is who harmonises with him, but she has the voice of an angel and makes the song.” (from YouTube)

Muse – United States of Eurasia

muse’s “united states of eurasia” is absolutely spectacular. reminds me of “bohemian rhapsody”. their entire new album is stellar. it’s called “the resistance”.

UNITED STATES OF EURASIA

You and me are the same
We don’t know or care who’s to blame
But we know that whoever holds the reins
Nothing will change
Our cause has gone insane

And these wars, they can’t be won
And these wars, they can’t be won
And do you want them to go on
And on and on
Why split these states
When there can be only one?

And must we do as we’re told?
Must we do as we’re told?

You and me fall in line
To be punished for unproven crimes!
And we know that there is no one we can trust;
Our ancient heroes, they are turning to dust!

And these wars, they can’t be won
Does anyone know or care how they begun?
They just promise to go on
And on and on
But soon we will see
There can be only one

United States!
United States!
Of…

Eurasia!
… sia!
… sia!
… sia!

gabriel orozco at the moma

Gabriel Orozco. Installation view of Mobile Matrix (2006) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Graphite on gray whale skeleton. 6’ 5 3/16” x 35’ 8 ¾” x 8’ 8 ¾” (196 x 1089 x 266 cm).
the installation’s shape, form and aerial suspension are as interesting as the shadows it produces.

Gabriel Orozco. La DS, 1993. Modified Citroen DS, MOMA, NY
orozco cut a citroen DS into three parts, lengthwise, then appended the car’s exterior elements to the middle section. the end result exaggerates the car’s aerodynamic qualities.

Mobile Matrix

La DS, 1993. Modified Citroen DS

el greco at the onassis cultural center

“Dormition of the Virgin, Syros” by El Greco, The Onassis Cultural Center, NY

A ravishing gathering of fifty religious paintings is really two shows in one. The first follows the blossoming of an Old Master, the painter El Greco (1541-1614), born Domenikos Theotokopoulos on the island of Crete. The second traces an East-West mashup in Greek icon painting, in which the stately flatness of the Byzantine style met the more naturalistic perspective of the Italian Renaissance, influenced by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian (in whose workshop El Greco is thought to have apprenticed). — The New Yorker

“The Coronation of the Virgin” by El Greco, The Onassis Cultural Center, NY

The show’s grand finale is the oil study “The Coronation of the Virgin” (c. 1603), painted as if El Greco were gazing into a concave mirror reflecting the vault of heaven. — The New Yorker

“Dormition of the Virgin, Syros” by El Greco

“The Coronation of the Virgin” by El Greco

anish kapoor at the goog

Anish Kapoor. Memory (2008), Guggenheim, NY

Memory is a site-specific work that was conceived to engage two different exhibition locations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin and New York. Utilizing Cor-Ten steel for the first time, the sculpture represents a milestone in Kapoor’s career. Memory’s thin steel skin, only eight millimeters thick, suggests a form that is ephemeral and unmonumental. The sculpture appears to defy gravity as it gently glances against the periphery of the gallery walls and ceiling. However, as a 24-ton volume, Memory is also raw, industrial, and foreboding. Positioned tightly within the gallery, Memory is never fully visible; instead the work fractures and divides the gallery into several distinct viewing areas.

The division compels visitors to navigate the museum, searching for vantage points that offer only glimpses of the sculpture. This processional method of viewing Memory is an intrinsic aspect of the work. Visitors are asked to contemplate the ensuing fragmentation by attempting to piece together images retained in their minds, exerting effort in the act of seeing—a process Kapoor describes as creating a “mental sculpture.”

[Third viewing area]

most breathtaking. from afar we perceive a two-dimensional black canvas. i was a bit disappointed that this was the third part of the installation. however, i was intrigued by the lushness of the black. was the canvas wrapped in velvet? as u approach the canvas, u suddenly realize that this is a three-dimensional opening, with immense depth. this is in fact the cavernous interior of the sculpture. as it is covered by light-absorbing black tiles it gives the impression of rich color and two-dimensionality. the installation beckons constantly. i had the urge to crawl into spaces around it, to discover it, feel it, see it as one complete structure. the third viewing area was most inviting. there was a line on the floor beyond which we could not venture. it was hard not to pop one’s head into the dark opening. kapoor explains that it’s more than just curiosity which compels us to do so. the darkness that exists within each and everyone of us, attracts us inexorably to the darkness inside the sculpture. love it!

First viewing area: Anish Kapoor’s “Memory”

Third viewing area: Anish Kapoor’s “Memory”