Local Project Art Space presents Creatrix Cult by Jana Astanov from November 21 to December 1. The exhibition features an installation consisting of photography sculpture, video, performative objects and poetry. The environment grounded in the concept of art as spiritual practice transforms the gallery into a place of worship celebrating the feminine and its connection to the natural world.
The focus on performance art that allows the connection with the audience occurs as a real time interaction and personal response, which are essential to Astanov’s practice. At the center of her work she constructs the temple “Light of Her Consciousness” as photographic sculpture, curating a rich selection of her performative practice works.
The video sculpture utilizes Astanov’s project from 2016 “Contemporary Landscape of Ecofeminism”, created as part of Red Temple performance community that gathered on New Moons from 2015 to 2016. The artist sees women as deeply connected to the cycles of the moon, nature and life-giving forces. This connection is reflected in the first religions that worshiped the Great Mother, which have largely been lost in our culture with the rise of monotheistic religions praising “god” as the omnipresent authority figure. This conveyance of monotheism is reflected in the culture of our societies, its economy and politics, giving men the privileged role of lawmakers, and culture generators.
Our civilization argues against the sacred value of nature and instead harnesses the environment and consumes its resources. The natural abundance has its utilitarian value and the nature is no longer revered as the sacred source, humans are separated from the natural world, they conquest it in the same warlike logic as the victorious nation that colonizes a subjected peoples.
On the opposite spectrum of war and conquest are the ancient civilizations that have survived into contemporary times. These societies, which almost always live in harmony with the environment, have diverse spiritual practices that usually involve psychoactive natural alkaloids of some form – peyote, ayahuasca, psilocybin in naturally occuring mushrooms. However, when it comes to Western world spirituality, not only do we deny the nature its sacred place but we do the same with the feminine presence. While western civilization suppressed the feminine power, casting women off the world stage throughout the entirety of the political and religious systems, eastern philosophy holds a pantheon of powerful feminine deities that work with the male gods in their own chthonic realm and ritual space. Ultimately everything is derived from The One, and the genders merge again in a spiral dance of yin and yang.
With Creatrix Cult Astanov restores the balance, brings the feminine, bows to the natural world and acknowledges the spiritual thus the connection between us and the cosmic soul. In her work she perceives the feminine as the link between sexuality and spirit, between biological energy and the cosmic soul. Creatrix Cult reflects her continued research and experimentation with syncretic use of visual art, writing, sound and spiritual traditions.
Jana Astanov is an interdisciplinary artist, living in New York. Born in Poland she studied anthropology, philosophy and linguistics in France, and arts in the UK. Her work includes photography, poetry, performance and new media. She published three collections of poetry: Antidivine (Undergroundbooks.org), Grimoire and Sublunar (both Red Temple Press).