THE LURE OF SECRECY: WESTERN ESOTERICISM & THE ARTS ——– CCWE CONFERENCE 2OO9 ——–
THE CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF WESTERN ESOTERICISM
3rd ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10th OCTOBER 2009
THE LURE OF SECRECY: WESTERN ESOTERICISM & THE ARTS
This year’s conference is one of a series of CCWE conferences that continue and deepen research specifically in the field of Western Esotericism and the Arts, with a primary focus on secrecy.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Participative panel discussions will focus on secrecy: its positive, negative and ambiguous aspects, its uses and abuses in relation to literature, music and the visual arts, these may be expressed in such themes as:
vision, transformation, truth, the divine
the unknown, the future, death, the afterlife
power, control, anti-establishment aims, membership of an elite
language, texts, places, teachers
revelation, interpretation, levels of consciousness, ambiguity
codes, ciphers, correspondences, magic, hypnotism, hallucination
in the context of their relevance to the political, cultural and social demands of their time.
Presentations will be published on the website ahead of the conference. Lighthouse Editions are considering publishing a book of the conference papers, but these should not be submitted before the conference.
EXTENSION OF DEADLINE
Deadline for submission end of July
Please send an initial abstract of 100-200 words to:
Dr Sophia wellbeloved
THE INTRODUCTORY PAPER FOR EACH SESSION WILL NOT BE MORE THAN 15 MINUTES IN LENGTH and will be followed by an open discussion for the remaining thirty minutes so 45 minutes in total.
All papers will be published on the CCWE website ahead of the conference.
RESPONDENTS to papers are invited to send a brief email with their interests in the areas of:
Secrecy related to:
French Surrealism in the 1930s
19th Century Hermeticism and Magnetism
Imagery drawnfrom Bibblical story and Greek myth
17th Century painting in the Netherlands
Respondents may be asked to prepare short Position Papers from which they may contribute during the relevant panel session. Accepted Position Papers will be published on the CCWE website.
All participants are welcome to take part in the panel discussion that follows the above address. If you have a specific interest in this area or a contribution you would like to make please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicolas Poussin: The Birth of Bacchus, 1657, detail
(see the complete image below the Keynote Address)
KEYNOTE ADDRESS:THE BIRTH OF BACCHUS
An exploration of the genesis and evolution of Poussin’s schema for The Birth of Bacchus will be given by
JULIA CLEAVE MA member of the Academic Board of the Temenos Academy THE LURE OF SECRECY
“For of the knowledges that contemplate the works of Nature, the holy philosopher hath said expressly; that the Glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out: as if the Divine Nature, according to the innocent and sweet play of children, which hide themselves to the end they may be found; took delight to hide his works, to the end they might be found out; and of his indulgence and goodness to mankind, had chosen the Soule of man to be his Play-fellow in this game.”
Francis Bacon Preface to the Advancement of Learning (1640)
THE BIRTH OF BACCHUS
Poussin, the Quadrivium and the Mysteries
The circle of learned men for whom Poussin painted regarded themselves in some ways as privileged persons, who had been initiated into mysteries unknown…incomprehensible to the vulgar. Anthony Blunt Nicolas Poussin The A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts (1958)
Theon of Smyrna, writing in the 4th century CE, states in the midst of his Mathematics Useful for the Study of Plato: We can again compare philosophy to the initiation into things truly holy, and to the revelation of the authentic mysteries.
OED Definition of Theurgy:
2. The operation or intervention of a divine or supernatural agency in human affairs; the results of such action in the phenomenal world.
Poussin’s approach to his art was essentially theurgic. He conceived his compositions as a form of sacred theatre in which what is portrayed – an encounter between human and divine worlds – is intended (for those who have eyes to see) to move the soul of the viewer.
Bernini – after examining in detail, on his knees, the third painting in Poussins’s series of the Seven Sacraments Extreme Unction – declared: it has the same effect as a beautiful sermon to which one listens with rapt attention and after which one is left speechless, for one’s innermost being has been moved.
Poussin, himself, likened his art to the Greek theory of the musical modes: When all parts of the composition were assembled together in due proportion…there proceeded a power to breed various passions in the soul. In his final statement on the nature of his art he went further:
It is an imitation with lines and colours on any surface of all that is to be found under the sun. Its aim is delectation. Not only is Poussin hinting here at his espousal of a form of solar mysticism but, in using the term ‘delectation’, he means not simply pleasure or delight, but is invoking St. Augustine’s notion of ‘delectatio bono’: a beatitude which leads to union with the divine.
Bernini’s phrase: left speechless recalls the Greek concept of arrhetos meaning ‘unspeakable’ or ‘inexpressible’ – a term from the lexicon of the mysteries which applies both to the injunction on initiates to keep secret the sacred rites – a necessary protection from the profane – but equally it implies the impossibility of conveying in speech such momentous experiential knowledge, or gnosis.
Whether Poussin is drawing for his subject-matter on Biblical story or Classical myth, he is concerned with such moments of epiphany or epopteia – with the dramas of initiation, trial, revelation and transformation which we associate with the Mysteries. The word mysteria, meaning secret rite or doctrine, was applied by the Church Fathers to the Christian sacraments as well as to the initiation ceremonies of the ancient world.
In the service of this aim, Poussin deploys the disciplines of the Quadrivium – the four subjects (literally the four ways) which were regarded by classical writers as pathways to spiritual enlightenment.
Hence the meticulous architectonics which underpin his art: a deployment of whole number ratios, root geometries and musical proportions which is analogous to a form of temple-building. As in the history of architecture, so in the history of art, knowledge of these mathematical subjects was regarded as a closely-guarded secret – what Luca Pacioli called, in his treatise on the Divine Proportion: secretissima scientia, the most secret science. De Divina Proportione – drawn largely from the work of Piero della Francesco – was illustrated by Leonardo and published in 1509. While all claims to the persistence of a tradition of speculative geometry in painting need to be judiciously made, there is clear evidence that, more than a century later, artists like Poussin (buon geometra) were still making conscious use of geometry in their compositions for what appear to be both symbolic and talismanic purposes.
Not only is Poussin concerned with Arithmetica, Geometria, and Harmonia; he also engages with the fourth of the Quadrivium subjects: Astrologia or Astronomia. In a number of his canvasses, through a subtle combination of ecliptic geometry, together with solar, planetary or zodiac imagery, he explores the symbolic links between microcosm and macrocosm – humanity and the visible world under the influence of super-sensible forces.
Academic approaches to Poussin’s art have a tendency to treat his subject-matter as fossilized cultural memes – the stock topoi of sacred or secular art – to be interpreted in socio-historical, psychological or aesthetic terms, rather than as possessing spiritual content. On Dante’s hermeneutic scale of the four levels of interpretation: literal/narrative, allegorical, moral and anagogical, modern scholarship seldom ventures beyond the third level. Our predominantly secular culture has difficulty in acknowledging transcendence: shying away from lived spiritual experience, from the possibility of visionary flights of soul.
A myth gets its animation from a mystery (Pico della Mirandola)
The interpretation of The Birth of Bacchus is a case in point. This ‘mysterious canvas’, originally painted for one of Poussin’s closest friends and fellow-artist, Jacques Stella, now hangs in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. It has given rise to some puzzlement among art historians. They are at pains to account for the artist’s decision to combine in one scene two disparate myths which appear unconnected by any narrative thread: the stories respectively of the Birth of Bacchus and the Death of Narcissus. Drawing on scientific ideas current among Poussin’s libertins contemporaries, as well as Renaissance traditions of mythography, their solution has been to interpret the picture as essentially an allegory of opposing physical processes of regeneration and decay in Nature. While this theme is undoubtedly present, an exclusive focus on natural history is too reductive, and forecloses on more esoteric readings of the composition. It is only when this is viewed in the light of metaphysical traditions that we discover a more profound rationale for Poussin’s ‘mysterious’ conception. His sophisticated schema encodes a complex pattern of alchemical and planetary symbolism, consistent with Neo-Platonic and Hermetic conceptions of cosmology and the transcendent destiny of the human soul. Further confirming this anagogical interpretation, the artist left behind a number of clues in the form of some mythographical notes, and in a more explicit detailing of his ideas in one of his preparatory sketches.
Poussin’s highly-charged and often enigmatic canvasses invite us to muse deeply on their esoteric import – holding out the promise of access to veiled or submerged hermetic truths. This is the lure of secrecy, implicit in Francis Bacon’s remarkable image of a concealed God, inviting human souls to be his Play-fellows in a game of divine hide-and-seek, de-coding the phenomenal world in search of Deus Absconditus, and, in the process, discovering their own true destinies. (Vere tu es Deus absconditus was the gnomic inscription given to a posthumous engraving by Claudine Stella of one of Poussin’s most striking works The Holy Family on the Steps.)
An exploration of the genesis and evolution of Pousin’s schema for The Birth of Bacchus will be the subject of Julia Cleave’s keynote address.
JULIA CLEAVE (MA Oxon, MA Essex) is a member of the Academic Board of the Temenos Academy. As an independent scholar, she is currently conducting research into the encoding of the hermetic traditions in Renaissance and Seventeenth-century art and literature, including evidence for proto-masonic symbolism and ritual practice. In 2003 her proposal for a doctoral thesis on sacred geometry and the mystery traditions in the works of Nicolas Poussin was accepted by the School of Traditional Arts at the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture. She has given lectures at the History of Astrology Seminar, the Theosophical Society, the School of Economic Science, the Jupiter Trust and the Temenos Academy. http://www.temenosacademy.org/
A review of Friend to Mankind – Marsilio Ficino 1433-99 ed. Michael Shepherd in Temenos Academic Review 4 (Spring 2001)
Ficino’s Approach to Astrology as Reflected in Book VII of his Letters
Culture and Cosmos Volume 7 Number 2 (Autumn/Winter 2003)
Burlesquing the Brotherhood (Paper given at the 6th International Conference at the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre).
The Canonbury Papers Vol. 4: Seeking the Light – Freemasonry and Initiation (2007)
Of Hiram and Aymon – the Evolution of the Legend of the Third Degree
Transactions of the Manchester Association for Masonic Research Vol XCVIII  .
PROFESSOR GYORGY SZONYI
Universisties of Szeged and Budapest
Leverhulme Visiting Professor
Department of English, Communication, Media and Film
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England
will respond to the Keynote Address.
Professor Gyorgy Szonyi
6 monographs, 11 edited volumes, 91 articles in the fields of Renaissance research, English and Hungarian studies in periodicals, collections of essays, encyclopedias. Book reviews, essays, critiques on Hungarian culture and current European issues. Two novels (1983, 2002) and short stories
Gli angeli di John Dee. Roma: Tre Editori, 2004, 170 pages, 9 illustrations.
John Dee’s Occultism. Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2004 (Series in Western Esoterism), 350 pages, 32 illustrations.
Pictura & Scriptura. Hagyományalapú kulturális reprezentációk 20. századi elméletei [Pictura & Scriptura: 20th-century Theories of Tradition-based Cultural Representations]. Szeged: JATEPress, 2004 (Ikonológia és muértelmezés 10), 324 pages, 54 illustrations.
Edited Books and Journal Issues:
“The Voices of the English Renaissance.” Special Issue, Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 11.1 (2005), 253 pages.
The Iconography of Power: Ideas and Images of Rulership on the English Renaissance Stage. Szeged: JATE Press, 2000 (Papers in English & American Studies 8), 214 pages, illustrated. With Rowland Wymer.
European Iconography East & West. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996 (Symbola & Emblemata 7), 263 pages, illustrated
Selected Articles and Book Chapters since 2001:
“The Dark Offsprings of Humanism: Erasmus, Reuchlin, and the Magical Renaissance.” In Marcell Sebök (ed.), Republic of Letters, Humanism, Humanities. Budapest: Collegium Budapest (Workshop Series 15), 2005, 107-25.
“John Dee as Cultural, Scientific, Apocalyptic Go-Between.” In Andreas Höfele, Werner von Koppenfels (ed.), Renaissance Go-Betweens. Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2005, 88-104.
“Occult Semiotics and Iconology: Michael Maier’s Alchemical Emblems.” In Karl Enenkel – Arnoud Visser (ed.). Mundus Emblematicus: Studies in Neo-Latin Emblem Books. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003 (Imago Figurata, Studies 4), 301-25.
“Le intuizioni di Aby Warburg alla luce delle sfide postmoderne”. In Carlo Bertozzi (ed.), Aby Warburg e le metamorfosi degli antichi dèi. Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 2002, 183-203.
TESSEL M. BAUDUIN MA University of Amsterdam
LES SECRETS DE L’ART MAGIQUE SURREALISTE:
elite knowledge and the avant-garde in French surrealism of the 1930s
In the first Manifeste du Surréalisme André Breton, founder of surrealism, states that he will reveal the “secrets of the magical surrealist art”, subsequently describing different surrealist techniques. In this paper I will investigate some of these “secrets”, focusing predominantly upon automatism, visual alchemy and other techniques for creating surrealist art, combining this furthermore with a review of the concept of secrecy in surrealism. As I will show, concepts of secrecy, elite knowledge, or even of gnosis, were prevalent in the art theoretical discourse of surrealism in the 1920s and ‘30s (the particular scope of this paper), and concerned reception of art, creation of art, as well as exhibition practices. Secrecy in surrealism was intimately tied to its avant-garde tenets, and thus to the internal paradox of the avant-garde: the simultaneous need for elitism and for revelation. The secret of surrealism is only meant for a select few and the approval of the general public needs to be avoided at all cost – but then, how can the surrealist revolution be inclusive and reach out to all? As I will make clear, the particular “secrets of the magical surrealist art” provide an answer.
Tessel M. Bauduin, MA, is a historian of art and culture. She is currently working at the University of Amsterdam, in a double position as lecturer and PhD-student, at the department History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. After having taught art history for a couple of years, she is now teaching various courses in religious studies and history of hermetic philosophy. Her PhD-research is concerned with the interaction of esotericism and avant-garde art movements in general, and with the reception of esoteric sources in the discourse of Parisian surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s in particular. Her thesis is expected to be published in 2012. Tessel’s freelance activities include lecturing and teaching in art history. For more, please see http://www.tesselbauduin.nl and http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/t.m.bauduin/.
DR DES. BERIT WAGNER
Kunstgeschichtliches Institut der Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Art Cabinet: Willem van Haecht 1628
FROM DURER TO RUBENS: PAINTERS AND THE ORDER OF THE INSPIRATI
In the 15th century, scholars, patrons and artists (re-) introduced the hermetic tradition and with that the Order of the inspirati into European thought. Even in the southern Netherlands, especially in Antwerp, esoteric literature was studied and printed very often.
Nevertheless, with the counter-reformation in Antwerp there were frequent bans, and legal processes against these philosophical-religious currents. A famous process took place against the painter Otto van Veen, teacher of Pieter Paul Rubens. My paper explores the influence of esoteric traditions in the Antwerp School in the early 17th century. It focuses on Willem van Haecht ‘s Art Cabinet painting from 1628 that depicts paintings with hidden Hermetic-Christian and Paracelisian contents and asks why it was favored by elitist thinking and why esoteric interests had to remain secret. Haechts Art Cabinet of illusion – studied alongside the Corpus Hermeticum and little examined theoretical treatises by Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo or Pieter Paul Rubens – seems to display an elitist and secret microcosm within the Antwerp society.
DR CHRISTOPHER WEBSTER
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT: ESOTERIC NAZISM AND THE FETISH OF THE HITLER ICON IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
The photographic image gives a new form of ‘life’ – or in any case, a new ‘state of things’, a new way of being a thing – to something available out of our visible field, out of our hands, out of our immediate apprehension. It is life transported to another world by the sensitivity of the photographic plate. Michel Frizot
And even if he be dead. He will come back. Sooner or later. He is eternal. Savitri Devi from Pilgrimage (on the return of the Hitler Avatar)
Since the cataclysm of the Second World War that ended in Europe with the death in his bunker of Adolf Hitler, there has arisen, out of the ashes, an underground and secret esoteric movement where, according to Nicholas Goodrick Clarke, certain individuals have “transformed the negative attributes of Nazism into a cult of cosmic significance.” Drawn by the lure of Ariosophist myths and dreams of a resurrection of Hitlerist ideals there are some for whom the relics of the Third Reich are more than historical curiosities associated with a war that ended more than sixty years ago. To those devotees of Esoteric Nazism objects associated with Hitler and in particular photographs, have become fetishized as iconic links with his presence. I am specifically interested in the use of the Hitler image, the postcard photograph and photographic portrait, which works as both index and icon. It seems evident that there is an enormous interest in collecting ‘relics’ from the Nazi era (ranging from badges and items of clothing to dinner plates) but beyond the remit of the specialist, historic or military collector there is also an esoteric impetus to access objects with direct links to Hitler for a ‘spiritual’ reason. This is particularly true of photographic representations of Hitler that suggest a closeness to the photographed subject without having to be personal objects directly linked to Hitler the man (usually rare or with a high price tag). This notion of the photograph as a piece of material culture carrying with it a deeper association is evident in this quote by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning:
It is not merely the likeness which is precious in such cases – but the association and the sense of nearness involved in the thing…the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever! It is the very sanctification of portraits.
It is this transmutation where the photograph becomes a religious icon that intrigues me. I have been exploring aspects of Esoteric Hitlerism as a Nazi cult where the use and iconic transformation of images of the ‘Führer’ play a major role. Esoteric Nazism has developed in a covert but broad form since the end of the Second World War. Inspired by the writings of devotees such as Miguel Serrano and Savitri Devi, Esoteric Hitlerists regard Adolf Hitler as a Messiah, deified after his Berlin ‘sacrifice’; or even as the tenth and final Avatar of Vishnu.
Again according to Savitri Devi, Hitler was:
…the god-like Individual of our times; the Man against Time; the greatest European of all times. (From the dedication to her book, The Lightning and the Sun).
This research has developed out of my examination of the use of photography as a pseudo-scientific tool in areas such as criminology, colonialism, eugenics and racial science; and the origins of such ideas in esoteric theories dating back to the Classical era. My specific interest here lies in the analogue photographic trace as related to such ‘religious’ practices – a small but significant area within the devotions of Esoteric Hitlerism.
My paper will briefly explore the relationship between the material connectivity of photography and the subject recorded and in particular the iconic status attributed to such images as ‘unholy’ relics for these secretive Esoteric Hitlerists.
Dr. Christopher Webster was born in the UK in 1965. In 1982 his family moved to South Africa. Webster studied art and art history as an undergraduate and postgraduate in South Africa. In 1989 after graduating from art school, he lived and worked as an artist and lecturer in the Johannesburg area for several years. In 1996 he was appointed lecturer in fine art at Aberystwyth University’s, School of Art. Membership of international research committees and editorial boards has included and includes: The South African Association of Art Historians, Association of Studies in Esotericism, European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, Overseas Advisor to Faculty of Art, Vaal University of Technology (South Africa), international editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, international editorial board of the South African Journal of Photography. Most recent contributions to books include chapters for: The Nineteenth Century Encyclopaedia of Photography, Routledge, (2007) and Esotericism, Art and Imagination, MSU press (2008). As evidenced by international exhibitions and conference papers, Webster continues to develop, with his PhD and Masters students, alternative approaches to photographic practices (both chemically and conceptually). Webster’s most recent practice is centred on the production of short 16mm films that include stop motion animation and manipulation of the film surface. Areas of research and research supervision covers: (specifically) – occult and esoteric applications of photography (including physiognomy, spirit photography, documentation of esoteric events, photographs as evidence of the supernatural), the staged and manipulated photograph (especially in photo-collage and photomontage). Webster has investigated and adapted the iconography of the photographic image and in recent years he has participated in many group and solo shows including exhibitions in Johannesburg, Lancaster, Cape Town, London, Tel Aviv, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Baltimore, Cardiff and Pretoria. His recent art practice work centres on 16mm film experimentations. He is continuing to work on making new short films whilst concurrently researching material for a book exploring the use of faked photographs and photographs of doubtful provenance produced during the Second World War.
One person exhibitions/screenings
· Cipher – Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, 1 October – 19 November, 2005; Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 21 January – 4 March, 2006; St Michaels Theatre, New Ross, Ireland, April, 2006; Garter Lane, Waterford, Ireland, 8 May – 5 June, 2006; UNISA Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa, 4 July – 30 September, 2006; Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town, South Africa, 16 April – 4 May, 2007
· Visions and Traces – School of Art Gallery, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, 2006
· Fragments – Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, USA, 2002, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2003
· Sleepwalkers – Gallery 1885, London, UK, 2000; School of Art Galleries, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, 2001
· Riemland’s Edge – (part of africainside during Photofestival Noorderlight 2000) Museum het Princessehof, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 2000
· Gnosis – Folly Gallery, Lancaster, UK, November 1999 – January 2000; 100 X C (online exhibition), The Month of Photography, Cape Town, South Africa, 1999-2000
· Memory of the Fall – School of Art Galleries, UWA, Aberystwyth, UK, February – March 1998; MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa, May – June 1998; Durban Centre for Photography, Durban, South Africa, July – August 1998
· Roadworks – Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1993
• Beyond Words, (six person group show), Safehouse Gallery, Belfast, UK 24/01 – 07/02 2009.
• Film House, filmmakers in Wales, National Library of Wales Drwm, 29/01/2009.
• Outcasting, Season 4 (http://www.outcasting.org/) August to September, Cardiff, UK, 2008.
• Imaging the Bible, Aberystwyth University School of Art, Aberystwyth, UK, 2008.
• Stone, Plate, Grease, Water – International Contemporary Lithography, The Museum of Modern Art Wales, Machynlleth, 12 March – 12 May 2007; Bankside Gallery, (next to Tate Modern), London, 14 August – 27 August 2007; The Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast, 4 September – 29 September 2007; Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran,
8 March – 26 April 2008
• Prints of Wales, Belger Arts Centre, Kansas City, USA, 2007
• fforma, Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 2007
• fforma, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, UK, 2006
• Originals 06, The Mall Galleries, London, UK, 2006
• Aberystwyth Printmakers, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, UK, 2005
• fforma, Stark Gallery, London, UK, 2005
• Aberystwyth Printmakers, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, 2005
• fforma, Theatre Clwyd, Mold, UK, 2005
• Swansea Print Workshop, auction of original prints, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Swansea, UK, 2004
• fforma, Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan, UK, 2004
• Contemporary Art from Around the World , Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2003
• fforma, Y Tabernacl, Museum of Modern Art Wales, Machynlleth, November – February 2003; St.David’s Hall, Cardiff, February – March, 2004
· Group Show, Gallery international, Baltimore, USA, 2003
• Toko, fforma exhibition at Toko, Aberystwyth, UK, 2003
· Exhibition of International Assemblage Artists, Gallery 24, Berlin, Germany, 2003
· Group Show, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2002
· Harlech Biennale (Print Open), Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech, UK, 2002
· Premier Exhibition, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, 2002
· Emerging Artists 2002, Limner Gallery, New York, USA, 2002
· Exposed, Fulton Street Gallery, Troy, New York, USA, 2001
· Identikit, Brixton Art Gallery, London, UK, 2001
· Current Works 2001, Society for Contemporary Photography Gallery, Kansas City, USA, 2001
· Studios Midwest A-I-R Program, Knox College Arts Building, Galesburg, USA, 2001
· fforma, Courtroom Gallery, Lampeter, UK, 2001
· Emerging Artists 2001, Limner Gallery, New York, USA, 2001
· International Young Art 2001 – international group exhibition finalist: Sotheby’s, Tel Aviv, Israel, January 2001; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, USA, January 2001
· The Welsh Lens, international touring group exhibition: Parco e Museo Genna Maria Villanovaforru, Sardinia, September 1999; Galeria Zirpoli, Belizona, Switzerland, May – June 1998; Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth, UK, October – November 1997
· Through the Glass, Darkly – School of Art Galleries, Aberystwyth, UK, 1996
· Images with a Twist – The Photo-Arte Gallery, London, UK, 1996
· International Environment Week Exhibition – United Banking Hall, Vereeniging, South Africa, 1994
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1994
· Drawing With Light – ‘Pushing the Limits of Photography’- ICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1993
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1993
· Vaal Triangle Artists – ICA, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1993
· Art School Staff Exhibition, Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1992
· Kaleidoscope – Gallery 88, Sasolburg, South Africa, 1992
· Rolfe’s Impressions – Grahamstown Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1991
· Anniversary Exhibition of Photography – Goldfields Gallery, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1991
· Studios Midwest A-I-R program, Galesburg, USA, 2001
· Gallery International, Baltimore, USA
· Clampart, New York, USA
· Kato-Ezell Collection, West Virginia Center for Creative Photography, Elkins, USA
· MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg, South Africa
· The Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
· School of Art Collections, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK
· Axis database, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
· Many private collections (international)
• Prints of Wales, exhibition catalogue, Belger Arts Centre, Kansas City, 2007
• Cipher, exhibition catalogue, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 2005
· fforma, exhibition catalogue, UWA & Museum of Modern Art Wales, 2003
· Fragments, exhibition catalogue, Artemisia Gallery Chicago & Gallery International Baltimore, 2002
· International Young Art 2001, exhibition catalogue by Artlink and Sotheby’s, 2001
· Riemland’s Edge, Catalogue published, Noordelicht Fotofestival, 2000
· Riemland’s Edge, CD-ROM published, Noordelicht Fotofestival, 2000
· Sleepwalkers, exhibition catalogue, a Gallery 1885 publication, London, 2000
· Memory of the Fall, exhibition catalogue, UWA School of Art & MuseuMAfricA, 1998
· The Welsh Lens, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art Wales, 1997
Publications, conference papers, public lectures/workshops
• Paper delivered ‘ Face of the Divine: The Esoteric roots of Physiognomic Photography’ at the conference Hidden Sources: Western Esoteric influence on the arts, The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism, Cambridge, October 2008.
• Spirit, Ghost and Psychic Photography, in the Nineteenth Century Encyclopaedia of Photography, Routledge, 2007.
• Paper delivered ‘Fragments in Photography’ at the conference Cultural Histories and Vocabularies of the Fragment in Text and Image c.1300-2000, Aberystwyth University, June 2007.
• Cipher: Staging the Mind in the Photographic Construct, South African Journal of Photography, 1 (3), 2006.
• Gallery talk and exhibition walkthrough (x 4), University of South Africa Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa, July 2006
• Paper delivered ‘Photography, bastard of science or esoteric art?’ at the conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism, at the University of California, Davis, Davis, June 2006
• Gallery talk, Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, Ireland, May 2006
• Public lecture and gallery talk, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK, October 2005
• Analysis of Love, image reproduced in The William and Mary Review, Williamsburg, Virginia, Volume 42, 2004
• Paper delivered ‘Drawn from Nature; Hermetic references in the early photographs of W. H. F. Talbot ’ at the conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism, at Michigan State University, East Lansing, June 2004
· Public Lecture, Galesburg Civic Art Center, Galesburg Illinois, July 2001
· Images from the Past, (book review), Inscape No 41, spring 2001
· What is and What is Not, Inscape, No. 40, winter 2000/1
· The Portrait Cabinet of Dr Bleek: Anthropometric Photographs by Early Cape Photographers, in Critical Arts: A journal for Cultural Studies (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia & University of Natal, Durban), South Africa, March 2000, ISSN0256004
· Paper delivered ‘Spiritualism and Photography’ at the conference Visions, Dreams and Nightmares at Marymont University, Washington DC, March 2000
· Robert Greetham Photographs 1978 – 1998, Inscape, No.32, winter 1999
· Seeing the Odalisque: Aspects of the colonial gaze in South Africa 1845 – 1975, in de Arte, University of South Africa art journal, South Africa, July 1999, ISSN00043389
· Paper delivered ‘A Woman of Sofala’ at the conference Encounters with Photography organised by the University of Cape Town and the South African Museum, Cape Town, July 1999
· Gallery talk, School of Art, Aberystwyth, UK, February 1998
· ‘The Sale of Dante’s Dream to the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool’, University of Michigan Press; The Rossetti Archive (Internet archive devoted to the life and work of D. G. Rossetti and compiled by Jerome McGann), 1998
· Public Lecture, ‘Rossetti and Hall Caine’, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, September 1998
· Public workshop accompanying The Welsh Lens, Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth, UK, October 1997
· Paper delivered ‘Memento Mori: The dichotomy of the desire to marry the machine (camera) to the spiritual in an increasingly secular age’ at the conference Shamanism and Belief in European Photography organised by The European Society for the History of Photography, Helsinki, October 1997
· Africa Obscura, University of Pretoria Art Journal, Vol. 2 (2), June 1997
· Photographing Anything, Inscape, No.24, summer 1997
· The Use of Metaphor in Landscape Photography, Inscape, No.12, winter 1995
· Photography in South Africa, Inscape, No.13, spring 1995
· Life in the Liberated Zone, (book review), Inscape, No.13, spring 1995
· Black Dog (short story), in Probe, the quarterly publication of Science Fiction South Africa, No.81, South Africa, September 1990
· Review of the exhibition Cipher in the Cape Argus, 29 April 2007
· Review of the exhibition Fragments in the Baltimore Sun, 11 February 2003
· Television interview for Ghosthunters a program for French TV channel 3, and the Discovery Channel, 2002 (broadcast 2003)
· Register Mail interview whilst an artist-in-residence at Studios Midwest, Galesburg, Illinois, July 29 2001
· Interview on the radio station the Laser, WLSR, Galesburg , Illinois, July 30 2001
· Exhibit-A, issue 6, September 2000, ISSN14629496
· Soul Searching (the work of Christopher Webster), in (not only) Blue, No.26, April 2000, ISSN13230026
· National Diploma (distinction visual communication), School of Art and Design, Vaal Triangle Technikon, South Africa, 1989
· National Higher Diploma, cum laude & academic colours, School of Art and Design, Vaal Triangle Technikon, South Africa, 1993
· PhD, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, School of Art, 2006
· Lecturer in fine art, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK, 1996 – present
· On the Editorial Board of the South African Journal of Photography, 2006 – present
· On the Editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, 1999 – present
· On the International Editorial board of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts & Rodopi publishers (Amsterdam)
· Lecturer in photography, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 1991 – 1994
· Guest-curator, Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa, 1992 – 1993
· Liaison Officer for the visual arts, Vaal Triangle Culture Coalition, South Africa 1993
· Photographer’s Assistant, Michael Meyersfeld Studio – Johannesburg, South Africa 1990 -1991
DR JON WOODSON Howard University, Washington
The Lure of Secrecy for Writers in Early Twentieth Century America
Lighthouse Editions are most grateful for the charitable donation we have received from Education Services that have allowed us to offer some funding towards fees for presenters.
REGISTRATION FEE is £135 which includes lunch and refreshments during the day and the conference dinner in the evening. This can be paid as
£135.00 by UK checuqe
£143.00 (£135 plus bank charges £8.00) via bank transfer to the UK from Europe
or £138 via Paypal
details will be sent by email. Registration fees must be paid before a place at the conference, or can be confirmed. Places will be limited so early application is advised.
Friday 9th October
On the evening before the conference there will be an informal get together for those who have already arrived in Cambridge at the Double Tree Hilton. This is a superb hotel in the historic Cambridge city centre, beside the river Cam.
We will gather in the Bar which looks out onto the Cam, you can ask for us at the reception desk.
Granta Place, Mill Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1RT
01223 259 988
See more info at:
see map at
Wofson Court is on Clarkson Road at the top of the map off Grange Road.
Wolfson Court Cambridge CB3 0EH
Girton College’s Wolfson Court in central Cambridge is built around seven courtyards, within easy walking distance of the city centre and the University Library.
Chairing the conference for the day is
ANDREW JAMES BROWN
a liberal Christian minister, a University Chaplain to Cambridge University, Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Regional College and also a professional jazz double-bass player. He teaches jazz/rock bass at Anglia Ruskin University and occasionally teach subjects related to inter- and multi-faith matters for the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge.
He writes of the connection between Western-esotericism and the Socinian/Unitarian Christian traditions: ‘that there were a number of figures within both the Radical Reformation and the later Radical Enlightenment periods who, for a variety of reasons, were particularly interested in neo-Platonism and the Kabbalah. In affirming Jesus’ humanity and the Unity of God the Socinian/Unitarian tradition (initially born out of an interesting mix of Italian Renaissance Humanism and Polish Anabaptism) naturally found some of the fruits of this study particularly interesting because it opened up new theological and philosophical possibilities for a genuine reconnection with Judaism and Islam, both of which also denied the divinity of Christ.’
CCWE CONFERENCE DRAFT PROGRAMME
Friday 9th October
from 6.30 – 8.00
informal get together
in Hilton Bar Mill Lane
SATURDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2009
Registration and welcome
9.30 – 10.30
Julia Cleave Keynote
Gyorgy Szonyi responds
11.00 – 11.45
1st presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
2nd presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
12.30 – 1.30
1.30 – 3.00
1st presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
2nd presenter – 15 mins presentation 30 mins discussion
3.00 – 3.30
3.30 – 4.00
4.00 – 5.00
reflections on the day
CONFERENCE DINNER at
BROWN’S RESTAURANT & BAR
23 Trumpington Street, Cambridge
As we go along Trumpington Street towards Brown’s for our conference dinner you will see what looks like a wide open gutter, on both sides of the street. This is known as Hobson’s Conduit and was built from 1610 to 1614 by Thomas Hobson to bring fresh water into the city of Cambridge from springs at Nine Wells near the village of Great Shelford. There is more info about this and on Hobson himself, from whom we get the phrase Hobson’s choice’ on Wikipedia,
Girton College Tower
4.30pm There will be a visit guided to Girton College and chapel with special reference to the scholar Annabel Kitson, and poet and Fellow of Girton Kathleen Raine. We will be shown around by Rev Dr Malcolm Guite who is Chaplin at Girton, and was our Keynote Speaker at last year’s conference. After an English cup of tea in the Fellows common room, there will be the opportunity of going to Evensong, where we will hear Girton’s particularly fine choir.
Raine was a research fellow at Girton College from 1955 to 1961, and in 1962 she was the Andrew Mellon Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She taught at Harvard for at least one course about Myth and Literature offered to teachers and professors in the summer. She also spoke on Yeats and Blake and other topics at the Yeats School in Sligo, Ireland in the summer of 1974. A professor at Cambridge and the author of a number of scholarly books, she was an expert on Coleridge, Blake and Yeats.
CAMBRIDGE – PLACES TO VISIT – ACCOMMODATION
If you can stay for a few days, either before or after the conference there are many wondereful buildings to visit and places to go to in Cambridge which this year is celebrating the 800 years since it’s founding.
Websites which give useful info about where to go and what to see in Cambridge:
“The name “Cambridge” summons breathtaking images – the “Backs” carpeted with spring flowers, Kings College Chapel, punting on the river Cam, and of course the calm of the College buildings. The City known worldwide as a centre for academic excellence, retains much of the atmosphere of a bustling market town, with its narrow streets, and cobbled market place. Home to 100,000 people, it is also a centre for technological expertise, has a varied arts programme, and many good shops, including fine book shops. The City, is richly served with museums and galleries, from the Fitzwilliam Museum, with a fine collection of paintings and works of art, Folk Museum and many collections of scientific and classical interest, available in the University Museums. Close to the city centre, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is well worth a visit. A forty acre paradise of plants, the garden includes a lake, tropical glasshouses, Systematic Beds and Winter Garden. Cambridge with its’ winding streets and splendid architecture has much to offer at any time of the year; it is also the ideal centre for visiting the surrounding country side – the historic houses of Wimpole Hall and Audley End are close by, Ely Cathedral – the “Ship of the Fens”, peaceful villages with riverside pubs; the rolling wooded countryside made famous by the artist John Constable, are all a short drive away.”
This is probably the most comprehensive website giving details of
hotels and bed and breakfast, self catering,
(you can also find other internet sites with bed and breakfast lists). Accommodation is always booked up in Cambridge and the week of the conference will be an expecially busy one as the new academic yer is beginning and many parents will be staying in town.
PLACES TO VISIT
include Gardens, and nature reserves.
among their Museums, Art Galleries listing are:
Kettle’s Yard House’
For sixteen years, Kettle’s Yard was the home of Jim Ede, a former curator at the Tate Gallery, London, and his wife, Helen. It houses Ede’s collection of art, mostly of the first half of the twentieth century. The collection includes paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones, Joan Miró and many others, along with sculpture by artists including Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Paintings and sculpture are interlaced with furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects. Ede’s vision of Kettle’s Yard was of a place that was not ” an art gallery or museum, nor . . . simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability . . .” Each afternoon (apart from Mondays) visitors can ring the bell and ask to look around.
Kettle’s Yard, Castle Stree,t Cambridge CB3 0AQ
Tel +44 (0)1223 352124
The Fitzwilliam Museum
from their website: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
“History of the Collections”
“Few museums in the world contain on a single site collections of such variety and depth. Writing in his Foreword to the catalogue of the exhibition for Treasures from the Fitzwilliam which toured the United States in 1989-90, the then Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, wrote that “like the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam addresses the history of culture in terms of the visual forms it has assumed, but it does so from the highly selective point of view of the collector connoisseur. Works of art have been taken into the collection not only for the historical information they reveal, but for their beauty, excellent quality, and rarity… It is a widely held opinion that the Fitzwilliam is the finest small museum in Europe”.
gives details of colleges you can visit see their entry on St John’s College below:
About St John’s College St John’s College was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. The second largest of the constituent Colleges of the University of Cambridge, it has about 135 Fellows, 530 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. The total current membership of the College, comprising in essence all those who have studied here, stands at around 12,000. Visiting St John’s The College is open to visitors from Saturday, 7 March 2009 to Sunday, 25 October 2009 (10am to 5.30pm)
They also list details for
Trinity College Chapel
Trinity College: founded in 1546 of particular interest to visitors are the Great Court (scene of the Great Court Run ) and the Wren Library
Kings College : was founded in 1441 and attracts many visitors each year especially to see the Kings College Chapel. If you like walking you can download a one hour MP3 walking tour of Cambridge from http://www.tourist-tracks.com/tours/cambridge.html?gclid=CJSh5ZnjzZoCFRxGkgodjF1y3A
The CAMBRIDGE CENTRE for the study of WESTERN ESOTERICISM is independent of any academic or esoteric communities, the directors share an interest in the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of Western Esotericism and in the establishment of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network can thrive.. From 2009 CCWE has operated within Lighthouse editions Limited, a small publishing company Directors: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved, Jeremy Cranswick – see http://gurdjieffbooks.wordpress.com
Lighthouse Editions are most grateful for the charitable donation we have received from Education Services.
Written by SOPHIA WELLBELOVED
January 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm
Tagged with "The Dark Offsprings of Humanism: Erasmus, 20th-century Theories of Tradition-based Cultural Representations]., ambiguity, and the Magical Renaissance.", André Breton, Anthony Blunt, anti-establishment aims, Apocalyptic Go-Between., Bernini, Budapest University, Cambridge, Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism, ciphers, codes, control, Corpus Hermeticum, correspondences, Dante, death, Death of Narcissus, Dennis Konijnenburg, Dr Christopher Webster, DR DES. BERIT WAGNER, Durer, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, epiphany, epopteia, Esoteric Nazism, Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism, Fogg Art Museum Harvard, Francis Bacon, George Sieg, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, Gli angeli di John Dee, H.P. Lovecraft, hallucination, Hermetic, hypnotism, Indiana Jones, interpretation, Jacques Stella, John Dee as Cultural, John Dee’s Occultism. Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs, Julia Cleave, Language, Le intuizioni di Aby Warburg alla luce delle sfide postmoderne, Left-Hand Path, levels of consciousness, Leverhulme Fellow, London Theosophical Society, magic, membership of an elite, Michel Frizot, Nazi Gnosis, Neo-Platonic, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Nicolas Poussin, occult neo-Nazism, Occult Semiotics and Iconology: Michael Maier's Alchemical Emblems, Order of the Inspirati, Otto Rahn, places, power, Quadrivium, Renaissance, Reuchlin, revelation, Rubens, Scientific, Sophia Wellbeloved, St. Augustine, surrealism, Szeged and Budapest, Szeged University, Tachikawa-ryu, teachers, TESSEL M. BAUDUIN, texts, the afterlife, THE BIRTH OF BACCHUS, the divine, the future, The Holy Family on the Steps, THE LURE OF SECRECY: WESTERN ESOTERICISM & THE ARTS -------- CCWE CONFERENCE 2OO9 --------, The Occult Roots of Nazism and Black Sun, the unknown, Theon of Smyrna, Theurgy, transformation, truth, vision, Willem van Haecht, Zoroastrian tradition