Suspended ball of golden wire 35cm diameter
In his work “The golden brain…. retracing Ariadne”James P Graham combines myth and alchemy to explore the existence of phenomena outside our logical understanding or belief. Suspended low above the floor of the gallery is a tangled mass of golden thread shaped loosely into the form of a head. The piece feels like an energy conductor or brain, defying gravity with its hovering weightlessness. Here Graham muses over Ariadne’s famous thread that enabled Theseus’ escape from the labyrinth, and transforms it into an alchemical relic endemic of the labyrinth found in the mind. Gold is associated alchemically with the elixir of life, as well as being the metal for heart issues so perfectly appropriate to Ariadne’s unrequited love for Theseus.
This allusion to energies existing outside of our comprehension is one of the key themes running through Graham’s work. Decline in mysticism and excessive secularisation in the post Cartesian modern era has resulted in a dearth in awareness about these types of phenomena; but they can be accessed through illumination, that is, wisdom or comprehension that is given, not acquired from knowledge. The 13thCentury Saint Thomas Aquinas famously defined this in his Summae Theologicaeas ‘scientia sacra’or sacred science.More recently, the Sufi philosopher Neyyed Hossein Nasr gives a complete explanation for the modern reader in his book ‘Knowledge and the Sacred’
A self proclaimed anti-conceptualist, Graham encourages viewers to look for ‘feeling’ rather than ‘meaning’ within his artworks, because uniquely an artwork can communicate the indefinable or inexpressible without always needing literal academic explanation. He constantly identifies notions of ‘sacred space’, starting from within the content and permeating the gallery space where an atmosphere of ritual and contemplation can often be perceived.
“The golden brain….retracing Ariadne” is presented at Kinetica Art Fair, from 3rd – 6th February 2011 having beenwas first shown in the exhibition Locus Solus,Benaki Museum, Athens, Sept 2010.