Friday, January 31, 2014


A series of drawings by Louise Despont - pencil on antique paper

"I think art is one way in which magical symbols and images can be presented to the public in a way that will not appear threatening. We know from the history of art in the past 100 years, that many genuine schools of occultism came forth to present themselves as what I am going to call mystical schools of painting, of sculpture and so forth. I am particularly concerned about one French school", says Bertiaux. "It is the pataphysical school. It was allied to Dada, surrealism, spiritualism and trance medium ship. The whole idea was that we would explore structures of the unconscious and come back renewed with a new kind of imagery and energy we can focus through works of art. The pataphysicians are my favorites, because what they sought to do was to create a kind of alternative science. I remember a pataphysician telling me, that as metaphysics is to physics, so pataphysics is to metaphysics, which meant an intuitive extension into the abstract or the transcendental or the less known aspects of experience."

 What were the characteristics of this school, I asked?

 "One of the characteristics would be their drawing of inspiration from dream states and a kind of somnambulistic meditation", says Bertiaux. "Another would be the idea that everything has a psychic history. This is related to “the cult of the found object” in modern art, the discovery of “the given.”

We know that there are many artists who will go around looking for what they call “a found
object” – actually they wouldn’t have to look very hard. According to the theory a found object
would “speak” to them and indicate to them that this was what was needed for the artwork of the artist.

The famous American sculptress Louise Nevelson - who worked with large assemblages and collages made from wood and wooden pieces - she had what I call her esoteric school", Bertiaux explains.

"These helpers of Louise Nevelson would get up very early in the morning. She lived in a town house in Manhattan, I believe; and they would go up and down the alleys, looking for discards. They were all kinds of individuals who were perhaps misfits in the outer world, but she believed them to be tremendously psychic. They all worked for her as her technicians, her helpers, in finding objects and wrapping them up in newspapers and paper bags, bringing them home; and then when they had all these treasures before them, they would let the objects tell them where to use them. And this came from a kind of psychic dialogue with the found object – which, I might add, was very similar to what Carl Jung taught many of his patients, to engage in with many natural things in their own experience."

- From: Arts and the Occult - An interview with Michael Bertiaux by Bjarne Salling Pedersen (.pdf file)


During the latter half of my research of the astrological sign Capricorn (and its constellation Capricornus) I stumbled upon an interesting man, Michael Bertiaux (b. January 18, 1935). According to Wiki, he is best known for his occult classic, "Voudon Gnostic Workbook", described as: "a 615-page compendium... spanning the sub-fields of Voodoo, Neo-Pythagoreanism, Thelema and Gnosticism". I somehow intuited that this man was someone I needed to acquaint myself with... and, when I pursued the .pdf file link provided, I was really amazed... 

So, the quote (above) serves as an addendum to two posts in particular: The Magic of Art and the Art of Magic, and Patron Saint #4 - Louise Nevelson. (And really, the anecdote about Nevelson and her psychic posse is priceless.)

Oh yeah, this post can also be filed under Capricorn...

Regarding the enigmatic series of drawings above (by up-&-coming artist, Louise Despont), well, its presence here arose from a similar synchronicity. In that, I stumbled across another link the other day, in an old email from my friend, Mac Tonnies, who passed away a couple of weeks after the email was sent (previously mentioned in this Post-Mac Blues post). I had looked at the link, and thanked him for it at the time, but then promptly forgot about it till recently. (Note: if you have a friend who unexpectedly passes, please review all messages with care, along with any links they may have sent prior to that time. These may prove to be significant in the future. My feeling is that those who pass do not do so "suddenly", even if it appears that way. And while they are corporeally present, they also have one foot on the other side. In other words, they know things that you don't.)

The link belonged to a marvelous art site, curated by Michael Chichi, named Synaptic Stimuli. A number of drawings by Louise Despont can be found there - notably here and here - but, to really get a grip on the scope of Chichi's site, wander around his Archive.

As for Despont's delicate pencil drawings, the "language of the birds" comes to me, and/or the single word: automatism. Unlike yours truly, she doesn't go into any verbal detail about her work (and this is probably wise), but I'm seeing designs from an extra-terrestrial, alchemical Tarot deck... and they truly resonate with myself, this post (and this blog).

Many of the links presented here, will also eventually be found on this blog's sidebar. And, within the next few months, the sidebar is one of the few things on Trans-D which will survive. But, that's another story, and I have one more post to go. Meanwhile, for those interested, here's a few go-to links describing Pataphysics: from Fortnightly Review, from Maybe Logic, and, lastly, Imaginary Science.


  1. MMmmmmmmmm...sounds as if the portal to the pataphysics is about to close, leaving us only with metaphysical questions as to the why, the where, the if and how. I always enjoy your postings on such topics because you link such an array of connections -- as if, somehow, all things are inter-woven into the fabric of being..which, of course they may well be and why it makes sense.

    The pencil work is lovely and obsessive..and...pretty amazing.

    1. Portal is probably too grand a term for this blog (thanks anyway, BG!) but, no, it isn't closing. I'm just fleeing the blogosphere.

      I suspect all those unanswered questions would remain unanswered with or without my presence.

      Obsessive... yes. Despont has genius. I hope, for her sake, she never ventures into the blogosphere. It's a kind of death.