The Journey to Self through SoulCollage®

The Ego, Jung tells us, is that part of the pyche that we think of as 'I'. Our conscious intelligence. Our everyday brain that thinks, plans and runs the show of our day-to-day life. The Self, as Jung defined it, is a greater entity, which includes the Ego but also incorporates the Personal and Collective Unconscious. Dreams and intuitions come from the Self. The archetypes of the unconscious dwell there. It is, Jung believed, the sphere of the Soul ~~Steven Pressfield. 'The War of Art'

"I would love to live like a river flows,
 carried by the surprise
 of its own unfolding".

 ~ ~John O'Donohue

Friday, July 24, 2009

Of a tiny art-lover and a major creativity re-charge

I'm back in Oz after 4 months in Europe, mostly in Berlin, where my daughter and her German partner presented me with my first grandchild, an adorable little angel named Zizi Matilda. I'm completely and hopelessly besotted! They capped that momentous achievement by getting married while I was there, too. So much happiness - becoming a granny and a mother-in-law in such a short space of time, and spending time with my new extended family, all in beautiful Berlin, where art abounds.

I could well justify writing about the Divine Miss Zizi Matilda in my 'art' blog as she's such an amazing Work of Art, easily the most gorgeous creation of my amazingly creative and talented daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are dancer-choreographers but also have talents in other areas. However, Zizi is also in my art news because, since she was only about 2 months old, she's been reading her own art book called 'Art for Baby' which I found at the Tate Modern while I was in London. The book was put together by Outset Contemporary Art Fund and a British children's charity, based on research which shows that young babies respond best to high-contrast images. Focussing on these images is "the first step to picture recognition in newborn babies." This skill, they say, is vital in developing a baby's understanding of pictures and words. They invited 12 well-known contemporary artists to donate simple black and white images which were then published in a board book. While Zizi shows great interest in all the images, gazing intently at them, when we turn the page to this Damien Hurst image, 'Hypovase Prazosin Hydrochloride 1992':

she reacts as though she's just met her best friend again after a long time apart! She breaks into a broad smile, and laughs and talks to the picture at great length. She only has this reaction to that one picture and she has this same reaction every time. It's interesting as this is one of the images with the least contrast and is the most complex image of the 12, and the only image that isn't simply black and white. Noting the name of the artwork, perhaps she's going to be a scientist! Some other artists featured are Takashi Murakami, Julian Opie, Patrick Caulfield and Keith Haring.

This is Zizi, at 10 weeks, excitedly greeting her 'Damien Hurst friend':

and again at 3 months, totally engrossed while out being 'seen' at Sunday lunch in Berlin with Mama:

Zizi Matilda highly recommends the Art for Baby book to all aspiring little artists out there, especially as a percentage of the proceeds of sales are donated to charities to benefit children in need. You can find an interesting article about the book and the research which prompted it here: It's apparently only available in bookshops in Britain at present, but can be bought online. I bought another copy online at the Book Depository a UK site where prices are excellent and, amazingly, they charge no postage, even to overseas addresses. It was recommended to me as being very reliable, with very prompt service, which has been my experience with them.

Four months in Europe, and especially Berlin, is certainly a great way to boost the creative juices - just like one long delicious artist's date! I had time to sample many of the wonderful galleries, museums and street art in Berlin, as well as enjoy the great architecture and get immersed in the fascinating history of the city, not to mention the countless beautiful cathedrals and churches in those cities, as well as in Lyon in France, a gorgeous and fascinating old city which I must get back to see more of next time.

Just a few art highlights from what was a highlight-rich 4 months:

Berlin street art (laneway at Hackescher Hof):

I discovered the German artist Wolf Vostell - his 3 large mixed media pieces at the NeueNationalGalerie, blew me away and had me wanting to see more of his work which quite by chance, I did later at the Fluxus Museum in Potsdam, where there was a large exhibition of Vostell's works (he was big in the Fluxus art movement).

Wolf Vostell - Malpartida (Acrylic, pencil and lead sheeting on canvas)

'The Murder of Crows': A wonderful sound installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof by Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures-Miller.

An exhibiton of Erwin Blumenfeld's collages at the Berlinische Galerie.

This very moving installation at the architecturally-brilliant Jewish Museum:

Menache Kadishman: Shalechet (Fallen Leaves)

Also in Berlin: Gemaldegalerie (paintings)and Kunstgewerbemuseum (decorative arts)

Schloss Moyland, near Dusseldorf, a restored castle which houses 60.000 artworks of 20th century artists collected by 2 brothers (obviously not all on display at once). This is definitely worth a visit for the Joseph Beuys alone, apparently 5,000 of his works, including small assemblages in boxes which definitely made MY heart beat faster!

The fascinating work of the American artist Nancy Spero at the new Galerie der Moderne which sits atop the escarpment above Salzburg in Austria (Nancy Spero: Woman as Protagonist).

Nancy Spero. Ohne Titel (Untitled) 1997 (detail)

Postscript: Death of Nancy Spero in Oct 2009

The Tate Modern in London - a feast of modern art. Also in London, at the Hayward Gallery, an inspiring exhibiton of the work of the French artist Annette Messager.

And, of course, the myriad private much to see, so little time!

It's been very hard to settle down after such excitement and stimulation, but having now recovered from the jetlag from a 29 hour journey home, and that weird feeling of being not quite in my body or grounded for a few weeks, I've realised that I've come back profoundly changed. I seem to have more direction about what I really want to do with my life, I'm more trusting that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be and I'm much more open to noticing the synchronicity that's happening in my life. Without me trying to work anything out in my head, my path seems to be taking shape and becoming much clearer. I've learned to trust that part of me that actually knows what it is I need to do.


GreenishLady said...

Wanted to email, but problems with my computer made it not possible to do easily right now, and just want to thank you for your comments on my blog, and for the connection. You have a beautiful grandchild! I'll be back, when routine returns to post-summer life - next week, or a week later, or .... Good to meet you!

Rolfe Bautista said...

You post up some really interesting and cool art. I love street art and I am really glad that you share some of the things you have found :D I hope to see much more :D

charkstudios said...

congrats on your beautiful grandchild. love your blog and will be back for more !

J Bar said...

Interesting blog.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Catherine Anderson said...

Jo, I'm so glad you left a message on my blog as it brought me to yours and I'm excited to find you are doing SoulCollage. I've been a SoulCollage facilitator since 2004 and love the process. Your SoulCollage cards are absolutely amazing. Also, congratulations on your new beautiful granddaughter. So glad you are introducing her to art at an early age.

B-u-x said...

Hi Jo, so nice to hear you had such an inspiring time in Europe (and some great family time too). I love your photo's, I'm a huge fan of street art.