Sofia Bachvarova Visual Artist
Alchemical Perception: Voices, Vimanas, Vibrations - installation and performance video
2015
installation
Galllerie Zafman space
Alchemical Perception: Voices, Vimanas, Vibrations

An experiential installation of paintings and sculptures by Sofia Bachvarova
With an in-situ dance and vocals performance by Lena Ang, Isadora Benitez and Lisa Manno

The key concept of this installation was to create an immersive environment, which celebrates the cyclical nature of energy; more specifically feminine energy as the carrier, propagator and embodiment of the creative will (male principle) into the matrix of reality of being.
Seen through the prism of ancient esoteric knowledge, the creation process is essentially that of birth, life and death through the actions of unfolding, maintaining and concluding. There we have the male principle (Shiva, divine intention), which is manifested through the divine feminine (Shakti) into the present reality of life experiences through the shamanic process of death and rebirth*.
The introduction of butoh [Lena Ang] and vocals {Lisa Manno, Isadora Benitez] as a freestyle reenactment reminiscent of a spring rite was an important element in my effort to immerse the audience in the immediacy of ritual-as-telling-in-time.

The sculptures, (which I call “Vimanas” after the “gleaming flying machines originally described in the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata**), become fully experiential only when removed from their surface aesthetic as art objects and seen instead in the context of ritual personification within the installation. Each of the five Vimanas becomes a vehicle of psychic transformation, a vessel of heightened energetic state through which one could transform, even only momentary into a "god-like", universal consciousness that extends beyond the known etymologies of language and culture.

My process of creating these suspended and illuminated sculptures was akin to a meditation on certain ecstatic sensations, often difficult to describe in words, yet universally felt through bodily sensation such as terror, awe, repulsion, bliss and ecstasy. In each of the Vimanas erotic imagery in the form of more or less recognizable sexual appendages and lovemaking acts has a predominant presence. This was an important element in my effort to engage the audience subliminally into a deeper discourse of sexuality as sacred union of the masculine and feminine energies, which through desire and longing manifest known physical reality. A further description of each of the five Vimanas can be found in The Vimana Sculptures sub-category at www.sofiabachvarova.com

The sculptures evolved organically, as I piled up found objects I had accumulated on various occasions, whenever such “spoke to me” into sort of “sensation heaps” and then began arranging them around basic armatures until each felt belonging-without-effort. It is perhaps not unlike abstract painting; I simply observed the process while actually bringing it into existence and watched for clues as the sculptures began to take shape and grew intuitively into a kind of three-dimensional mandalas. Some of the objects were found or re-purposed, while others such as the lovemaking miniatures and various insect and intestinal forms were hand-sculpted by me. What mattered at the end, was that each Vimana carried the visceral message of a particular ecstatic sensation and together they formed a kind of a floating garden meant to be walked through and experienced three-dimensionally in addition to the paintings.
The elements of ambient sound, scent and lighting design were also an integral part of my vision for
Alchemical Perception: Voices, Vimanas, Vibrations as a totally immersive installation, akin to a walk through a fairytale enchanted forest. A place where nothing is natural yet appears natural; in an Alice-in-Wonderland way. Where beauty and ugliness are often indistinguishable and where singular objects appear to expand into miniature universes upon closer inspection.

It all becomes possible when child-like awe leads the experience. This was most excellently demonstrated by the spellbinding butoh artistry of Lena Ang*** - a butoh choreographer with over twenty years of experience abroad and in the US, and my fantastic like-minded creative collaborator and friend. Lena’s performance was further made otherworldly by the incredible vocal improvisation by jazz singer Isadora Benitez and classical soprano Lisa Manno. I am absolutely amazed at the trio’s effortless and intuitive grasp of concept after only a single initial meet and almost non-existent rehearsal. This was actually an integral part of the performance as an elusive and ephemeral experience at the particular time and space. I could not have been happier in that which unfolded.

Thank you from all my heart to all who helped bringing this project to fruition.

Sofia Bachvarova, visual artist

I am always open and curious about future interdisciplinary artistic collaborations. If you would like to send a proposal of getting involved in some way or another please email me at sofia@vernacularculture.com (attn. projects)

March 20th 2015 /all rights reserved

* “The play of female energy has no beginning and no end. Although it is restless, the energy moves through alternating periods of motion and rest, during which order is re-established. Tantra believes that as long as the phenomenal world exists, it is the Universal mother who is the creator, preserver and destroyer. Thus Shakti should be worshipped as an aspect of the divine...The motivating force behind this eternal play that creates the illusionary world of phenomena is the power of desire. This desire is present in the one who is without attributes, the nameless and formless aspect of the divine.” source: |http:// www.sanatansociety.org|

** According to the ancient texts of India, more specifically the Vimanika Shastra which is undoubtedly a more modern version based on earlier texts of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Vimanas were the flying vessels of the gods and apparently possessed advanced technologies enabling these huge “gleaming flying machines” to move with unbelievable speeds and also apparently capable of emitting destructive beams “like thousand suns” that “made elephants scream” and “melted everything in their path”. Whether purely a myth or based on some suppressed historical evidence, the idea of the existence of such flying vehicles thousands of years ago in our forgotten past, brings into question whether or not our ancestors worshiped as deities a technologically advanced alien civilization with obvious exploitation agendas who posed as gods. sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vimana ; http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Vimanas.htm ; http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vimana

*** The Japanese form of impromptu dance known as “Butoh” was an integral part of the concept of the installation, as I have collaborated with the same artist in other environments and I truly feel that the spirit of my work finds natural continuum in Lena Ang’s artistry. sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butoh ; |http://nyobakan.blogspot.com/2008/06/nyoba-kan-butoh-festival- 2008_02.html|
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