I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Surrealist art. So, without further adew: Surrealism, Reader; Reader, Surrealism.
Now that the formalities (and the awkwardness of first meetings) are out of the way, perhaps its time that I let the two of you get better acquainted. Before I do, though, I must tell you that Surrealism is a great date, but, as you’ll find, she might not be the best for relationships, as she is quick to display her emotional baggage stemming from past heartbreaks (her last serious relationship ended when she caught her boyfriend sleeping with her best friend, a blonde who seduced men with her “abstractness”). So, if you are thinking about getting to know her over a glass of wine, you might want to just order the bottle. You’re going to need it.
What you are looking at are incongruous images (But, I probably didn’t need to tell you that). They are reality (Venus: the planet, the statue, the Goddess), coupled with unconscious, dream-like representations. These representations take the shape of trash, or liter (the remnants of life, also known as the residue). They are a melting pot, in which the lines separating the two physical states of man (awake/asleep, alive/dead, lightness/darkness) have been immutably blurred. What you are left with is a gray area. For Rachel de Joode, this gray area not only cumulates in her canvas (or simply, the background of her work), but it also shapes her reality. She notes that her collection, “The residue of those celestial objects bound to our Sun by gravity,” (TROTCOBTOSBG for short) is to aide her in grasping “the phenomena of my life in time and space.” In short, de Joode’s work is her attempt to understand life’s more complex ideas in a neutral setting.
It is no coincidence that her works share motifs with Roman Gods and Goddesses, who the Romans named the planets after (note: not all of the planets were named by the Romans, but the tradition of naming planets after relics of ancient Rome and Greece is still very much in practice). For the Romans, the planets played an integral part in their every day lives. In fact, the seven-day cycle is a result of the Roman belief that the planets, which took daily shifts monitoring the earth, played a direct role in human fortune (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon). To reach a planet like Mars would have been, for the Romans, incomprehensible. It would have been a journey only accomplished through death. Yet, for us, reaching Mars is commonplace. Dozens of space vehicles have been successfully placed in Mars’s orbit and on Mars’s surface, and dozens of space vehicles are left as litter, as residue of human contact with the Red Planet. For de Joode, the question is: how can we defile what the Romans and Greeks and others held as sacred? The answer is the expansion of globalization, which she refers to as “solarization.” The answer is the power of progress trumping the power of the divine.
As Henry Adams discusses in “The Dynamo and the Virgin,” after seeing the world’s first combustible engine, the progress of science was “a revelation of mysterious energy like that of the Cross; [it was] what, in terms of mediæval science, were called immediate modes of the divine substance.” Adams is verbalizing what de Joode’s art illustrates. That is, we have conquered the earth and are conquering space. These feats move us closer to knowledge of where we are, but further from understanding who we are.
For a second date with Surrealism, meet her at www.racheldejoode.com. You bring the wine; she’ll bring the substance.
By Scott Warfe