Exhibits in the ‘The Recognitions’ Gallery

Magnetic Lines of a Mirrored Cross

Washed in the Blood of the Invisible

There is he says a substance in which magical information transmits other than through the propagation of wave forms. The experiment, he says, thus yields the unexpected result…

that the image in question, itself, is, in spite of everything, a re-presentation of an otherwise unrepresentable ontology. It is only here because it cannot possibly be here. Watch and listen.

Not yet delivered to its measures or to the terms to which any measure whatsoever ever might apply, one enters the region of such a substance in accordance with happenstance, surely, but not without preparation and commitment, at least a general commitment to the form of magical will.

Manifestation, willful; the declension from the inapparent, magical.

But the substance appears in the quality of its ambient atmosphere, the nose for which requires an exaggerated relaxation of the musculature deep about the thoracic vertebrae. Way down there, very still. Very open. Very susceptible. The fascia all unglued and preternaturally resonant.

The passivity of The CruXified requires this. The rippling wave-form of agony passes right on through.

Various symbolic articles have been cast abruptly into that atmospheric quality, their materiality-ominous, miraculous, extravagant, improbable. The probability of the materielle canceled in the self-confirmation implicit in its epiphany. One has simply entered the corporeal regions where only magical configurations apply. The thought of the inexistence of this atmosphere-an inexistence that is the provenance of Reason itself-an extravagant dream. The Dream of Reason extruded from the ambient. The mirrors, he says, the mirrors.

(Write something, he says he says, for chrissake…write….some…thing…)

Are the crumpled heads mementos of some inescapable biography of violence-some accumulation of minute acts of grim volition, each skull one vile intent, and shall they waken and bespeak us? Only the verbal occupation of The Crucified requires this. To wash the ambient in the blood of the invisible.

What do these sorcerers imagine we will make of their stark yet lurid, hyper-material, technically Decadent histories? Whatever it is we will not make of them “histories.”

The magical is thus revealed to have several boundaries, only one of which degrades the rational.
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Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 03.11.08

Death of the Virgin con Caravaggio

The event is not recorded in Scripture. It occurs in the false memories of later men, who must contemplate biographies at all cost, and for whom a life has no focus at all until the final chapter has been scripted. The Christians certainly were Greeks in this: that they addicted themselves to a blind ontology of narrations. Nothing is so but that it inspire the tale of the tale of the tale of it. “Historical” paintings project this obsession with storied closure as far as their artists do manage, convening an episode in an image, focusing the ephemeral character of happenstance into the illusory stasis of a supremely contrived illustration.

But if we are alive to the life of the moment, we find no static image anywhere. Every point of surface flows, or rushes rather, jet stream along its own accumulating oblivion, each detail but a line in the long-body of a ferocious and impossibly strained desideratum: that the eye might have a pathetic corpse or dismal tomb to come to rest on, even while enjoying the largesse of spontaneous free survey.

Caravaggio’s image is both slice of life-the grieving apostles and the Magdalene are living enough-and figure of death, for the tale is finished in its image, though the image convenes itself beyond both death and life, the duplicitous surrogate of both, the faithful proxy of neither. In the picture, the Virgin’s body has clearly not been assumed living into heaven, as later dogma will hold it must have been; but neither does it wait in state to elevate at last in sweet post-mortuary rapture. Furthermore, there is not a hint of imaginally mediated spirituality, no allusion to or embodiment of that ancient goddess, whose many names from Erishkigal to Ouranian Aphrodite we might rehearse; names the tedious major years of Christendom violently repress, and which, however anemically, the modern Church has sought to resurrect in the Virgin’s name and image. Here, the pathos of her mortality releases no blue lunar luminosity, no contemplative harmony or solicitude, no transfinite ocean of comfort, compassion, pity, or transfigured human will. The thing is leaden. Story over. The story of the story. The story of the story of the story, as it must be. Over.

*

In a famous sermon of Meister Ekhart, the figure of the Virgin is contemplated as both Virgin and Wife; the paradox resolved by the Eternal Birth of Christ in the Heart in every moment; the radically transitory itself-the condition for timeless epiphany.

In the Chaldean Oracles, Hekate has two wombs: one with hymen unbroken, the matrix of all planetary worlding; the other broken indeed, eternally giving birth to all phenomena.

We read herein the effacement of Caravaggio’s sullen image: an effacement at last of all that the image of the virgin (propagated for two millennia of obtuseness in the name of sexual abstemiousness and drystick purity) has betrayed. Yet it is not so much that the refusal of the sexual body (the cover story of Virginity) sidesteps (as it does) that Death whose sexually orchestrated inversion is life’s possibility-which must be rued here. Such effacement alone shall give us The Virgin once again, who stands on the ledge like a pitcher in an ancient cave. Her secret name indeed is Hekate, the Double Wombed, the Moonlight Holy Doghag.
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Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 18.11.08

The Temptation of Wyatt Gwyon

For only in the excessive success of its intimate betrayal, does the truth abound.
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Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 25.02.09

The Temptation of Wyatt Gwyon, II

Being has no scale, no multiplicity, hence no orientation. All orientation orients on It. The vagaries of symmetry-breaking are the qualifications of manifest worlds. A long history of establishing symmetries makes history itself the twin of that which cannot appear to be. That which has no scale is twinned in conditions of apparency, where those conditions themselves offer balanced, symmetrical, pairs. When the doubling deviates from itself ever-so-slightly, apparency takes off on its own flight plan, occulting Being, forcing all the delusions of ontology. Where pious mimesis might have been the only candidate for the twinning of what is most real, forgery is born as the Mimetic Shadow. But as Being itself falls under darkest occultation, forgery beyond mimesis grapples with that which history has abandoned or forgotten or perhaps never realized at all as its innermost vitality.

Far beyond the shadows and the objects that are thought to cast them, beyond the light itself and the space that receives its radiations, we would cleave to the most productive of all simplicities, the most egregious affront to apparently productive life. Being itself does nothing at all, and all things are taken care of. Draco interfecit se ipsum.
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Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 22.04.09


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