Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mystical Contrasts

A couple of weeks ago I heard Hildagard Von Bingen's haunting 11th century chants performed alongside music by the 20th century Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya. The contrasts in texture and tone between the human voice and the various solo instruments, which included a piano, tuba, cello, clarinet, flute and violin couldn't have been greater and yet Het Collectief and the singers of Psallentes wove a seamless fabric of sound that was riveting from beginning to end with an electrifying inner intensity made even greater by the intimate nature of the performance with the audience seated in unnumbered seats around the stage in front of the musicians.

Have been reading the revelations of another medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, whose 'showings' with their vivid visualizations of the suffering Christ and simple, powerful images of the loving and forgiving Divine Motherhood of God remind us that the medieval world and mind was intensely tactile and visual, suffused with allegorical interpretations of ordinary things which could ( and can?) unlock deep and startling insights into the extraordinary.

  "Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.” 

“And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God."

In the house the ground floor is gradually coming to completion with the tiles which I made in Malta over 20 years ago  finally set in place in the fireplace and the contrast between various sorts of ever changing natural and artificial light, as the spring comes and the days lengthen, beginning to define the evolving nooks and crannies.  In the house during the 'crocus vacanzie' I modeled a lime plaster niche in the hall which creates an opportunity for traditional candle light and atmospheric shadows in this small dark corner and  elsewhere in the hall P. had the bright idea of inserting a thin strip of led light into the thickness of the plate and plasterboard ceiling in the hall skylight.  The first layer of lime paint in a neutral natural colour is being applied and this also helps to absorb and diffuse light in a different way.


 I also managed to find some brass handles and key holes for the doors at the Place Jeu du Balle market in Brussels.

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