Art and Ritual

Participatory art shares a boundary with ritual. Where does one end and the other one start?

Ritual reconnects community, reminds and renews. It ‘guides’ a community. It strives to create a framework for a messy individual life (baptisms, weddings, funerals…). The study of ritual as practice defines ritual as “set of activities that construct particular types of meanings and values in specific ways.”, it is a “vehicle for construction of relationships of authority and submission”.(Bell 1997, p.82)

Participatory art questions. It makes the participants reconsider, examine their feelings and thoughts about something. This can include reminding. It doesn’t necessarily nurture a community or expect faith.

A good example is Tania Bruguera, she points to something we all know and prefer not to look at. Here she talks about her participatory piece ‘Surplus Value’ exhibited in the Tanks-Tate Modern in 2012.


Art and ritual have deep connections, their paths have crossed many times. Yet, they have subtly different roles.

Reference list

BELL, C.M., 1997. Ritual. New York [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press

Art and Ritual

The Kröller-Müller museum in Holland

Sitting in the middle of De Hoge Veluwe National Park is the Kröller Müller museum and sculpture park.

The way the architecture, the park and the sculptures work together is beautiful. Winding paths, sculptures immersed in a forest. It is planned so well, the effect of each sculpture is magnified, and they look better then if they were displayed in a gallery. Going down hidden paths that do eventually open up their treasures, feels like an adventure and discovery.

The environment evokes a sense that this is a private moment, as the trees and flowering bushes hide the other visitors and the other sculptures. It is just me and the sculpture/strange tower, or this little shrine. As if we have stumbled on the piece by accident.

A grove of trees is hiding a bunch of satyrs. A monumental metal tower that looks like a fractal drawing, stands in a clearing. The repetitive pattern reaching to the sky.

Jan Fabre

We stayed in a bungalow park also immersed in a forest near the national park. The smell of the forest pervading everything. The whole experience fitted beautifully together.

Umberto Boccioni

The museum building itself is on one level, with flat roof and big floor to ceiling windows. Minimalist dream and beautifully sprawled in the greenery. The collection of Van Goughs is magnificent, I loved the Odilon Redon as well. The sculpture is as good and well displayed inside as it is outside. The futurist Boccionni’s famous man in movement “Unique forms of continuity in space” is here.

The use of the space, nature and architecture is masterful. Hiding and revealing just enough and always leaving you wanting more, like a delicious dish. Tantalising pathways talk to my inner child and I am certain I did not see everything hidden in this forest of a sculpture park. I will be back.

The Kröller-Müller museum in Holland

Duchamp Parallels

I am researching parallels between contemporary art and mythology. But I noticed this as a student studying Duchamp a long time ago, I am now getting back to this.

Duchamp is an intelligent trickster himself so it is not a surprise he identifies with Hermes. It is even more telling that his wings are made of soap bubbles for this “Obligation Monte Carlo”  bond.

Hermes himself among other things was considered the giver of wealth and good luck (ploutodotês), presided over the game of dice, and those who played it threw an olive leaf upon the dice, and first drew this leaf. (Hom. Il. vii. 183; Aristoph. Pax, 365; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 675.)


Another one of my favourite pieces “With hidden noise”.

Famously even he didn’t know what is inside. Hermetically closed, it playfully jokes with the mystery and power of the unknown. The fact that it is unknown, secret is the primary source of that power. Secret societies and ritual mysteries use this trick. I would like to draw a parallel between this object and an amulet.

Duchamp is laughing at the world in most of his work, but benevolently he ends with a positive image. He likes the traditional symbolism of male-female as matter- spirit. This is most obviously shown in the chess with the naked lady. The final revelation is hidden behind a door and can only be glimpsed.


Etant donnés

The carnal matter carries the light, the matter being necessary for the light to burn at all.




Duchamp Parallels

Vana Urosevic

I have just found a lovely book about Vana Urosevic. I have had it for a long time but never properly read it until now. It is like discovering treasure. She is a contemporary Macedonian artist who works with space and objects. She weaves dream scenes and sometimes nightmarish atmospheres. She is particularly exploring phobias and dream symbols.

Insect-covered cup Vana Urosevic

There is always beauty in her work, even in the most disturbing pieces. I find her work very inspiring and connect with it in many levels. Being female and trying to define the personas -the idealised aspects of femininity in “ the six women that helped Casanova” part of “The Casanova factory” for example. These entities could be confined in one person as different archetypes.

The weighing of the soul is probably my favourite piece. It is beautiful and subtle, in a way it is like an icon. The idea of the soul being weighed can be found in the earliest religions. It is a recurring idea, one of those symbols that reappear carrying meaning from the primeval on.



Sacred object and desecrating The original meaning is eroding over centuries, here is being reinvented and reassembled. I see and connect with the Byzantine heritage and the traces of the past.

Every piece of this planet carry their past in the soil. Its’ myths and layers of meanings . For me it is strangely comforting, like finding the smells of my childhood in the old wooden furniture.

She reminds me of the Dictionary of the Kazhars by Milorad Pavic in a way. The importance of the dream world in her work makes this connection for me, and in her latest exhibition also the use of parallel time. The thought that things can be associated with each other and exist in parallel, but in different times and/or geographical spaces.

Vana Urosevic

Bourgeois exhibition

An exhibition has been incredibly inspiring and will influence my art in the future. Artist rooms have brought Louise  Bourgeois in Southampton City Gallery, I have now seen it four times, and it inspired me on every  one of these occasions.

I have been struggling to achieve a representation of memory that I was happy with. This showed me that memory is fragmentary. So far I have been trying to come up with a complete scene and was frustrated as this was not working. When I reflect on childhood memories, it is always the fragments that are crustal clear and the scene as a whole is obscure and suggested rather that coherent. Sometimes these fragments are parts of carpet and furniture and the people are bleary.

The inescapable reference to primitive religion and cult objects, is particularly inspiring.

woman- house by Louise Bourgeois
woman- house by Louise Bourgeois
Neolithic goddess Magna Mater from Velusina R,Macedonia
Neolithic goddess Magna Mater from Velusina R,Macedonia

Also including objects together with drawings, sculpture and spaces finally makes sense to me.

I have started preparing to make a hologram as a part of a bigger unit. I have a plan that involves Russian dolls and I will be casting some sculpture in transparent resin.

Bourgeois exhibition