Oscar Murillo and the intercession of an “annihilated world” beyond painting, Part 2.

Rev., Oct 20, 2019.

Note: This is a thoughtpiece grounded in my POV and not that of the artist, based on far-sight of the exhibition on the internet, it is not a review. All pics from Cad.

But the best example of how Murillo worked out the wholeness or at least explored the intercessional space behind or within his paintings is found in his Turner Prize project for Margate this year. The interesting thing here is that at first I saw bad pictures of it and hated it, but, then, it began to grow on me; and, now, I am writing about it. The work actually consists of four elements on site, then a fifth in the prologue. On site, there is the entryway, with a Victorian painting in it, to mark the nexus of the issue, marking its permanence. Then, there are the paintings, here, however, rendered as a kind of curtaining, to create a special space; then, there are the benches with the New Year’s Old Year effigies on them, and, then, lastly, there is a window in front of them. It looks out onto the North Sea from Margate, but Murillo has blocked that window with mylar curtains, except for one small v-shaped chink, for them at least to yearn for the light. All in all, then, it represents a kind of chapel, but, worse, a waiting room, a limbo, where immigrants get stuck.

The breakdown of ritual space in the most general way is that there is an approach, an entry, a getting into it, then a departing. There is a pronaos, a cella, and an opistodomos space; out front in a cave set up the pronaos was also called the frontisterion. The presence of a full ritual space is more and more being seen in conceptual art that seeks to take the viewer somewhere. In this one, then, there is the nexus point in the pronaos, where, greeting us, there is a Victorian painting of immigrants by John Watson Nichols, Lochaber

1Nichols did sentimental pictures of men of the old sod being forced to move, either from Ireland to Scotland, or from Scotland to America, because of poverty or noble abuses; but here as usual it is a genre painting where the man is the thinking-out-the-problem rock, while the woman is all collapsed in woe. He did genre pictures. In general, in spite of what an exhibit up in Germany says now, a genre picture on the wall of a home in the 19th century was there for the purpose of settling down daily worry and just telling people, in the manner of a daily prayer, don’t lose hope, keep it up, keep your nose to the grindstone. They preached the values of everyday survival, in a homely way. Nichols did all sorts of these, mostly it seems warning woman off scheming travelling salesmen. There may then be an element of irony implied, by an audience having come to see immigration as a heartbreaking thing, to be moped over in sentimental imagery, but for the grace of god……But, it is here, in the pronaos, it has a more pronounced situation, as a Way of the World painting, which you often see in movies at the front door, negotiating coming and going, so it signals in a more general way that this installation is going to be about immigration, and immigration is a very, very old problem, nothing new in it. Then, we step in.

The first thing to notice is that the painting is really a curtain. It was actually somewhat common for temples in ancient Greece to have curtains. But this is certainly, when you think of looking at it as a curtain, the most expansive gesture of his paintings Murillo has tried, it is a panorama. A panorama as a painting pictures trouble coming, so the Surge here is meant to activate at this point, with a sense of theatricality, entrance into the cella, the main space where the cult image was kept. A lot of it is left black. The painting is Murillo’s usual rough stroking, just to cover acreage, it is expansive. It takes up not only all the entoptic zone, as it is entoptic painting, but its scope, then it swinging round to the sides, signifies that it is also ambient, with, in the black, an echo of the sentient universe without it sounding its woe


we see here that it goes pretty much all across the side wall, but as it does it goes totally black, so it reverts to curtain.

3there is some address to the immigrant issue in the facture of the painting, as indicated by this close-up. So, it is the theme

4 (2)

the whole view

5to work it out, the painting is the centerpiece, but, here, it is formatted as an expanded canvas, a curtain made out of particular materials that he makes use of. It is of the Surge series, and painted in his usual standing, housepainter’s quick brushstroke style.

6a number of people reported feeling claustrophobic in the set-up, if that is so that means that the blackness and the heaviness of the material closed in, sort of cancelling out the expansive intent of Surge. But, then, that would make of the space a temporary refuge from being “out there,” and by “out there” in an immigrant situation, I mean the travel itself, in peril, when one is in passage, and in danger; then, I imagine, there are moments when you are captured, or caught, or brought into the system, and, just for the warmth, or the survival, you momentarily feel safe; but, then, might also have got a case of phobia, so never want to go out there again. So, this sets up the tableaux of the people sitting on the benches.


these are, not, strictly speaking sculptures, though I suppose they were made by him, or for him, but there are folklore effigies. They represent the ills of the old year, and the word is that in Colombia, where Murillo lived til age 9, you light them up to purge all the ills of the old year, to start afresh. Thus, in their nature, they represent “the people” nicely, without any pretention (I would compare them in their blank face simplicity to the pinatas that Rachel Harrison used in her Trump piece at Greene in June, 2016, warning us). They are also generic, so talk of an anthroparion situation, their humanity has been worn away by the process, they are just a number at this point. They, as New Year’s Eve purging figures, represent as well all the shit they have gone through, with some hope that things will get better; but with, always, the fear that at some point they are just going to snap, or the process is going to kill them.

8another one

10in pictures of the real thing, in rite

11I see cardboard signage naming them, so maybe Murillo has negated that naming


the only art world reference I can make with regard to the pipe through the stomachs is Robert Gober’s Virgin with pipe through her, in the 90s

13he also put the pipe through other objects




this is a general structure commenting on the nature of mechanical rational materialist life in today’s world, providing you gut wrenching life moments (a special Greek word signified this particular state, “splanchisma”, from stomach (splanchma the sacrificial meat shared after a sacrifice); the word is only used in the New Testament twice, most prominently to describe the emotions of a father when he saw his Prodigal Son returning); moments too of sick-of-it-ness at just the process of life, the throughputitness of life, the people then representing that in a way we are all reduced to piping in the system, nothing but cogs in the machine (an image which goes back in British horror to The Quatermass Experiment (1956)). It is the pipe symbolism that indicates a force being brought from the dark universe–in my terms, the Sentient zone beyond, where turbulent psallictive forces work to tear you apart. This can, indeed, happen in one’s own den chair (see “mother of god” video of James Brolin in The Amityville Horror (1979)). It is a pretty bleak symbol, the world is going to fuck you up, and with Murillo, by making the opening large as a pail, with rocks put in, it also signifies a gutting, that is, one literally having one’s guts disemboweled, by the process, by the experience, to the point of almost losing one’s humanity. While at first, then, looking upon them as sculptures, I thought these forms were weak; as effigies, brought in, then treated as they are, and part of an ongoing Collective Conscious (2015-2019) piece, meaning that they act like a chorus in a Greek play, tormenting us with call and response, they work much better.


but, then, they are not let to look out at the sea, the window with the beautiful view is blocked

20this is quite the view, otherwise

21artists have made use of it before, often in a “romantic “ way, that is, in the ballpark of what I imagine the normal visitor response is, great view, wow, as it would be, unless, that is, you were an immigrant that just got off that sea, and barely survived.


it is a major element of the museum, and kind of a symbol of where things are in Margate (run down for a long time, but, with support from Tracey Emin, making a comeback), Turner’s stomping grounds.


but Murillo will have none of it


an immigrant would not think the view romantic, and it is unlikely they would stop to look at it, if they were in the middle of it (I can find no image of the small chink he left open, for them to peek out, but if it relates to the wedge form I have found in old movies situated over people’s head then it might symbolize something bad, possession, madness, as well as a bit of hope left).

26Then, surprising me, because I did not see it until later (and this tying in to the ongoing nature of the Conscience project, which I have not paid enough attention to to detail), there was an item that Murillo had one more scenario up his sleeve to situate these figures entirely in a predicament of agency push-pull on every side. In London, he had staff and volunteers take a figure each, and then take it on the train down to Margate. It occasioned a number of fun pictures of mannequins being helped

27on the train



I guess they were heavy, this also brings age into the picture

30the ha ha photographic aspect of these shots, and of this performance, which I get some people might think trivializes things, is that the effigies are cumbersome, and troublesome; but, then, you can get them into situations where they fade right in and it feels like they are just part of the crowd like everyone else, so why do you feel so special for not being one of them, it could be you. There, but for the grace of god. Fine, I do, however, find the sitting a bit with the effigies aspect of this project to be a tad sentimental, as if this will teach you to be a better human being

31I don’t think this is, in fact, the point. In fact, what the journey aspect of things does to the installation is to provide a prologue wind up to give further spin and speed to the  splat of arriving at the destination, which turns out, in the maze of waiting rooms in which they are trapped, to be another waiting room, another interminable camp out, like at ER, or in an airport in a snowstorm; it is pure, awful, horrible, systemic life, the boredom and tedium of the system, with only a glimmer of hope, but it is very slow in coming. So, the people that the effigies represent might well have thought they were finally getting somewhere, but, then, it only ends up that they are put into another waiting room, and they end up waiting again, again reduced to effigies (and we saw that in the bureaucratization of holding immigrants entering the US from Mexico in the past 18 months that this maze of places might well involve separation from family, being shipped off to who knows where, to sit in “cages” or fenced in places), it is horrible. Thus, the installation in the end IS, I think, a nightmare scenario.


that is, one comes in, on the journey, one feels part of the crowd, and, since the crowd is part of the new country, you are part of a new country; one is not so very different, is one. But, then, one comes to the site of the next processing. A sentimental Victorian picture reinforces that you are in England (I do love all this old Victorian genre works, my phase was with Landseer), it is about immigration, it reassures you, there will be a humane reception. But, then, while the curtains appear, imagistically, to have a sympathetic theme, recalling the ocean crossing, being about what you have been through, the material, and the blanks, then the presence of that all over curtain begins to close in on you. You are shown benches, that makes you all but faint, NOT AGAIN! no more waiting; but, now, once again, you are committed to hours waiting, waiting, and waiting some more; this drains you of your humanity all over again, it is gut wrenching, it is as if a pipe pierces you and you are being poured away. Then, even the view of promise, the sea, the tourist shot of Margate, is deprived you, you are stuck with only a faint glimmer of hope. So, at last, you can’t take it, you bottom out, go splat, as evoked by the fate of these effigies, and that propels you into a bounce out black out space past nightmare in which you are entirely lost and have given up hope.

This theme was, of course, reinforced in the past week by news that 39 Vietnamese were found dead in a trafficker’s semi truck, being carted from here to there in an under ground trade in humans. Is this not the pipe, is this not the waiting room, is this not the black out, is this not the nightmare? the constant fear, it is

33these are people, yet for profit, some other people traffick them in a life-threatening way


this is England, land washed over eternally by an endless movement of peoples, of history. The forms, the shapes, note the tent here, it is all Murilloesque.

35and the barrier

36and all the support, the cops and robbers business that ruins so many horror movies


but I did watch again this week Moxey’s Circus of Fear (1961), and found that it had a good sense of the cops and robbers and the sleazy open-ended but also secret spaces of modern England. Nor is it entirely irrelevant to Murillo’s attempting to envision where space goes, outside of painting, in the psychogeography of the world. The movie not only has good Thames River wild spaces, but also underscores that with every generation the space is changing, here, easy access of the Thames, busy with trade, not the same today.

38Then, some spaces stay the same, the brazen part here is that they rob the truck, then offload by rope pully right on the Tower Bridge, in daylight, on the Thames

40but then between the brazen front space of the culture at large, and the wild or wilderness spaces of urban life (a theme much on the mind of Brit movie makers at the time), there are all these in-between transitional stages, warehouses, and the like, more or less the crawlspaces of urban life, wherein there are no rules, and, protected by the anonymity of the space, and its multiplicity, one can get away with things

41 the fun thing about the movie is that the criminal decides to hide out in a local circus, which has been moving about the country on the roads, settling into the crawlspace, but, then, when it unpacks, it makes for itself a counterspace inside that, where everything gives the appearance of being front and center and the scene of the action, but it is a dream, an illusion, thus the curtains, nicely done here

42then that crawlspace which has dropped down into a kind of hypnagogic dream space, has its glass onion, in contact with the public, on the edge, where dangerous things happen, and in fact everything in every act is a “figure of speech” of the strange space the circus had taken up in the cubbyholes of modern industrial life

43even better for us, circuses then also imply all the backstage antics and intrigue too, it is subdivided, the backstage is, which would be an ambient glass onion form, by caravans, all this is Utrillo space, a village of dreams, but more structured, a camp past it, but its all about sex and clown painings (symbolizing the double-removed involuted nature of this space).

44these caravans vis-à-vis the glass onion space, where you see the women in their spangles, is where you imagine them naked, so there is also the mirror of your mind gazing into it (more clown paintings, then, weirdly, pinups, of her I think, at her boudoir mirror, I suppose for moral support)

45this movie twists the knife of intrigue of space in even deeper because it’s not just about the circus on the road but the investigator catches them just as they retire to their winter camp which seems to be on the grounds of the country house of the owner, so things circle back into a classic venue of British horror, the English country house, but in a very roundabout way. I would place this in the lattice, but then adjunct.

46but this never gets clear of the winter camp spaces where, because there are wild animals, can always be wild (here a lion gets out, the tamer (Christopher Lee!) must get him back in his cage).

47this is all open to the ambient space beyond, the open, runaway woods, the places that need to be searched, always, in the modern world, always conducting searches for missing persons, the endless quest of the too open-spaced universe of modern industrial life.

48thus Circus of Fear (1967) has all the spaces that were exploited for horror purposes in movies of the time, in Britain, but still remain, though things are always shifting, entirely appropriate today. Beyond each thing, in modern life, is a world. However many doors in the labyrinth of modern space, it is not so different in a movie from what Murillo is trying to do in a gallery, but then taken to an existential-mind level


the sleazy awful world that is so dehumanizing to all not in power, it is so imposing, it has been an object of horror in horror movies for at least 75 years. It is to be pointed out that all these are real world spaces, which sculptors and public sculpture have had to deal with for some, though it is surprising how poorly most sculpture grasps the psychogeography of space, the difference with Murillo is that he has taken an internalizing move, or a pivot to interiority, to seek to get at these places as they are reflected, as in the above graph, in the mind.


in a weird way, Murillo’s piece also counterparts the shock-the-rich strategy of Maurizio Cattellan tossing soft balls at Blenheim Palace, which exists in the country house or woods part of the scenario, a lattice place of great stability, making art which tweaks it about as controversial as afternoon tea

51though there are a few horses hanging about, this can hardly be counted as anything more than a gentle ribbing of those securely in power, for whom critique tolls not.

52though it does amuse me that the golden toilet, one of the inane-est meme works of art in recent times, was actually stolen by some blokes and still I get to imagine it in scenarios from de Richeleaux novels, driving all over the country roads, the Priestly novels were all about zooming roundabout on country roads, this, however, all a village of dreams, a reverie in the ambient space, creating an escapist intrigue, if still pockmarked with all sorts of luor kill spaces too (here, Tanis in The devil Rides Out (1967))


like in Circus of Fear, but searching for the missing golden toilet.

55I had a dream last night. Or a hypnagogic experience, it was a typical glass onion stichomythia, that is, I saw the enclosure of Murillo’s formal art, in a graph, then I saw that by taking over the sides as well he had created a hypnagogic space, and then that those sides open out to others, and others, so, by a scirpograph of it


this is more or less what I dreamt, Interestingly, I think the point of the stichomythia, the back and forth of it was to prove to the narrating eye that the work represented a pure break with 40 years of conceptual-neoconceptual orthodoxy, wherein expanding the field of the nonetheless secure medium was the rule; and that this breaks out in a way that can only be understood by the fact that to get to these spaces Murillo had to go to new places, mapped out by me in hypnagogy, and from there, keep going. Indeed, I remember saying in a talk I gave at UNL in 2017, showing a picture of an early Cady Noland, that I was at the time (1990) working with a postformalist model, and then this showed up, and I had no tools to explain why that was art. Thus, my search for agency theory was started and has taken all this time. Interestingly enough, there is a Noland in an exhibition at the Watergate now, an early piece.

57Again, this can only be explained by a dream or nightmare logic, as belonging to some element of the phthchth (from artnet) .

And, indeed, this seems to be where, more and more Murillo is going.

In a current show (Carlos/Ishikawa), he makes a point of reminding us that everything you see here is through the stretcher/looking glass

59but now people, like the people under the stairs, are living in the space beyond, this I would say is still the black out space, my term is the Chthon, it is ambient

60then, too, it heads out into sentient space, outside, through assemblages that seem to build from the figures or entomes or anthroparion under the bleachers, now found to have a life outside it, bounced out from nightmare into the Chthon, maybe even then by habiting out there to wander into the sentient, all of this in a dream state I call the phthchth

62we seem to circle back to the in-between space, but, I think now, we are on the other side

63here too, in this prototype space, similar to the space inhabited by other artists I have written about, we have the gnashing of the teeth, the breaking of rocks, the assemblages of protection

65this is where I think we are, in the Chthon

70then we veer out, in fact, into the sentient space of the far universe, birds pick at a plastic bag which seems, by the fact that it now and then moves to scare the birds, to be an entome of a depleted, psallicted human being

72there is another video outside in the dark, where Murillo not only preps his own passage, in a vessel that is extracted within the redoubt of canvas surface and paintstroke, a kind of sleeping bag or under the canvas space

74in which, in the sentient space, almost like a crime scene

75he then crawls into it, to become, in fact, not unlike Patricia in Suspiria (2018), an entome, a fragment, even as the narration is a charming letter from America, telling a loved one, I’m ok, except I’m not

77for these onlookers, it’s just a random encounter in the world, in rational, conscious, cultural life; they just have to walk from the corner, or the bar, it’s part of the opening, a night out. But for the figure in the canvas extension, it is more. In the psychogeography of Murillo’s art he exists after the journey, after the entry, after the inside expanded field of formalist painting space; he exists through the mediation, by ostension reborn into a dream world, unfamiliar; he comes through the forest or the sea of the ambient, across the terrible waste of the Luor, he plunges in a nightmare of acclimation into a new life, the trafficking is hard, then he is helped, taken to a receiving station, it turns out to be an art museum, but it is still the kind smile at the entry; but, then, the waiting room, another waiting room, he hits splat in the nightmare; then, out of the blackness, he bounces out to get caught in the adjunct ambient twilight zone of the Black Out, or the Chthon, and there, in that limbo, to stay, except, of course, if he wants to bolt; but then, beyond that, in the harsher spinning of the Sentient world of darkness beyond even the phthchth, there awaits Psallictus, the god of carnage who will tear you to pieces. For them, it’s just an evening out, for him, symbolically, and GPSwise in Murillo’s expansive meaning system, it is life and death (this too a classic trope, the haunted person desolate to have been wrenched out of normal life).

78for now, this will have to do with me and Murillo. I believe that, though unlike others, he has maintained a connection to mainstream painting, and has up to now struggled a bit to make sense of how his impulse at performance connects with his painting; he has now figured it out, and in the process he has expanded into a prototype agency space preexistent to the formalist redoubt of the expanded field (which might not even really exist except in artists’ minds); and, for that, he has come to create art with a lineage of extraction from his painting, through the looking glass of nightmare, he has at least reached a prototype space, which I term the phthchth, which everyone recognizes as, unfortunately, a place we have created in our contemporary hypercivilized, but savage, world.

Oscar Murillo and the intercession of an “annihilated world” beyond painting. Part 1.

rev,. Oct 29, 2019.

Note: This is a POV thought piece not a review of any exhibition, or informed by the artist’s view of his work.

Sooner or later I was going to have to deal with the spatial dynamics in and around the paintings of Oscar Murillo. My interest has been slow to simmer, then boil up. Recently, I criticized a picture of his work in the Turner Prize competition, until I saw the whole picture, then I better understood. This is my first response; but it really started when I also posted, sometime last year, about a show at Zwirner in which he had all the paintings out in the main gallery (see below), but then in the second side gallery off to the side and in the dark he had bleachers built, and on the bleachers were paint, but then in the gaps below the bleachers, in back of them, under them, one of the spaces of my youth that I loved, there were what appeared to be puppet versions of homeless persons seeking shelter, and this struck me. Obviously, I saw it as a crawlspace, the graph would be simple

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that is, he created a counterspace (turn away from gallery, but then reimagine it over your left shoulder), and in the swing of it, as per my old star system of material use, he swung round to the counterspace with the gap in mind that he did not use a stretcher in his paintings, so in the counterspace he would put the stretcher first, in a comparable form, and that then he made real, for it to come back through his art to form a counterspace reversed by reverse engineering or ostension, which also, then, by the space, gave life to mannequins or dummies

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that, then, is where he is situated, in terms of being in relation to painting when painting, in a counterspace, becomes the cult element that is the basis for a reverse counterreality.

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in connection with his latest, this is what Murillo says about his work, he compares it to the sense one has when haunted by a bat.

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but here, he relates to the blacknesss, and the overallness of the paintings, a weight, then it is like a religion, accepting projections, then, too, an abstract space where you can unload a weight. Hmm. This sounds a bit more complicated. Then, very much germane to my current reading of Girard, he again sets up an abstract situation, in which violence breaks out. Violence is the break point.

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This sounds like something bigger than a formalist model, or even a simple agency 101 or dynamic agency model. So, where to go?

In a show at Bortolozzi in 2016, he was inspired, apparently, by flying, but there being a dead body in the plane too. He then talks about a rightward turn, and that when they made that rightward turn with that dead body in the plane this was as close as he would come to “some kind of annihilated world,”

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this has to eschew for the moment precise agency graphs, as it enters into altered or hypnagogic states. What it sounds to me like is a Black Out. But a black out, after life, in death, where a “radical negativity” exists, detritus. So, this

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that is, in vigilogogy, sleepy wakefulness, on a plane (lattice form), it swings right, he gets a sense of the scale of things, the distance beyond; but, then, projected from the idea of the body in the baggage, where death is, below the bottom of dream, that all swings up like a black wind behind him to just send him mentally into a general wow at the whole scale and vast emptiness of the ambient-sentient space unexplored past vigilogogy, to have that feeling about an annihilated world (ambient being spins outside the head; sentient being signals from deep space). But, then, in the gallery is a hypnagogic representation of that, and in this sense, the dead body is the cult object at the center, then the experience of it is a nightmare, which bounces out (the rightward turn), and landing, there, I have a catch space where he can land, I call it the Black Out, or Chthon. What happens in this bounce is that, if previously he had used painting to secure the sides of whereever he was in a counterspace of painting, now it went with him all the way to the dead, to compare to the shrouds of the dead; then in the bounce out, it all bounced out with him, so it becomes the sides, the structure, that is, as if of the Black House itself into what I term the phthchth, the desert of meaninglessness, out in the far Ambient, heading off even into the sentient; and then since his pressure of emotion is still fixated on death this drops through even what I call Geithum, then even to what I think is the black out equivalent to death in the core, what I call, tentatively, Galooth, in my system. And so his “paintings” become but a siding of this hypnagogic destination, a limbo if you will

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he calls it a “signaling device from a bastard territory|. Thus, in ambience, where things spin, “painting” is reassigned the task of signaling, which it always does nevertheless; and it acts as heavy siding to “create the space” and the bastard territory is, of course, the Black Out. But, now, reimagined as a kind of camp in death, below, so you are in the space in-between the painting acting as siding

0 0 10thus, the painting becomes Onus (2016)

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it seems to be seamed together of the clothes or gear or uniform of the bounce out

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then, shifting back to my dynamic agency graphs, it becomes an ostensive space, a “reality” in this “redoubt” of the Chthon, where some sort of mission or something is taking place

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the proof seems to be in the rocks collected to represent the phthchth

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this all takes place behind, in another room, the frontispiece or frontiserion of the piece, the set up, the Islamic element, which you then step around

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representing the countries flown through, but then now thinking of the dead, passing through a door, into a dark place, then the swing of the plane in its rightward turn, and zoom, a nightmare, bounced out into the limbo of the Black Out, then sinking from that into the Galooth (death below black out).

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then, of course, once you’ve created the nightmare space, you can reverse again to come back in in places to suggest corridors and other dream formations like the Narrow Path, the Cursed door, etc. all of which I think is likely here, this is both

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but, just taking it as it comes to me, this strongly establishes that Murillo knows of the spatial dynamics of an interior psychogeography, encompassing vigilogogy and hypnagogy, and so, it is more than formalism, as I might post as an “expanded field” for forms (RIP at last Rosaline Krauss’ take), but an opening up into the expanses of the mind. But then notice here too that the apparatus that opens things up is a file like slat array, very much like a bleachers.


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as another case, let’s take his show at the Jeu de Paume, in 2017. He leads you down in, but as if in an indoctrination space, or, again, the frontiserion, he introduces some themes from his art. It looks like some of his factory oriented performances, which I have less an interest in. And, in terms of where they are, related to his paintings, there is no “formal” relationship, they are just another part of his practice, out there in the rational-material, critical-conceptual universe of rationality.

0 0 20I no longer have much interest in such critique of our system, as it seems like the system is out of our control at this point (ie is in a doom spiral), still, nor does it make for good art, as the system always wins, it can always “jump” one, it can always make a move to circumvent your critique before you even get a stand in it, this might be an example of what in a press release to a show yesterday the press release to a show by Stefan Fuchs in Cologne called the exhausted self, the self just can’t keep up with it anymore.

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but, then, back at the Jeu de Paume, after indoctrination you go down in, and it is black, and , it looks like, formal squares to represent “painting” in the black out form, possibly draped in black, or maybe just his black paintings again. So, we are now in hypnagogic territory. You have gone down in, and this is his version of the Glass Onion, a symbolic space

0 0 22we have a drawing of his, pretty much mapping things out as I have above, the system is there, he worries that identity politics only feeds it (this is a concern), then there is the central core, and it is the elan as I have it, so he is a vitalist, as I am, and believes that that vitality is expressed through nonrational forces of something (he puts it in terms of rage, I wouldn’t, as that is reactive)

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then, again, there is another drawing of another plane, making a turn, it is metaphor of this period in his work, these turns are his perceived sense of what are the vectors or spins of agency in my graphic system.

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then we come into a space, apparently underground, or in the basement, and he has people there (or this is a video). This I think is the High Light, signified, but, then, taken in to light up, if with insomniac impulses, the energy of this space. This cannot at this point be the bounce out, so he is just vectoring to a hypnagogic stage of half-asleep dreaming below or beyond the enclosure of his “paintings” then this space made real. So, in terms of my agency graph, this is, again, a reverse formation, something that was counter, now by ostension become a new reality, but in a displaced place, in my hypnagogic graph, I place this is in the glass onion

0 0 25so, here

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this is not a real space, but a ritual space, it is a fishbowl, if you will, like in a horror movie, it is space simplified, so whatever instruments are involved are related to the ritual

0 0 27then there are ritual actions, which create strange formations of things, as it does in my daily life, I do not know the meaning of this, I do know the hypnagogic spell upon them, it is a ritualized event, in a simplified space

0 0 28but then we learn this is about a space in Paris, where immigrants are, so we bounce out back to the rational-material, but maybe with understanding, having visited a ritual place of that diasporic culture

0 0 29so, in that piece, Murillo put us to sleep, to wake us up. Another strategy in the dynamics of his thought

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but what happens most of the time with Murillo is that, as at Zwirner, the paintings, for one market

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then adjunct spaces, where he expands upon things; the Meandering here in the tone of the works I discussed above, so in the Black out, in the hypnagogic basement, as it were, of his art, and his conceptualization of how painting-on-canvas is the material that holds all this together.

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the paintings of late expand the field, but the explanations are all formalistic, signifying that he works much like Mark Bradford does, creating contesting surfaces the marks and process of which means something. Fine.

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I am particularly interested in his Surge paintings as his metaphor of oceanicness, it seems to me to be the carryover from the jet plane metaphor in the earlier work. The Surge opens up to other spaces, not just layerings

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and even in his News paintings, the layering, all of which is of interest, were this note about the micro levels, but there is suggestion that the meaning is also behind the painting, coming from some deeper place, and that would be a prototype cult space got to by a backbuilding to it, a regression, so that might be the primary drive in his painting, to build it back into a new prototype zone, where things are…hypnagogic.

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This is what I think is going on. When you revert to a preexistent state, only in the mind, then you are in a prototype space. I have written of how this is becoming a redoubt of some interest as it seems that while one is up in the mediated space of modern or postmodern or postpostmodern life, you are compromised by the meme power of the discourse to always reduce whatever you say to the green slime. But, in prototype space, some actions (this is where, for example, I think the devolutionary trend in Euro figure art is at the moment, going to pre binary to root out the binary, in social life, impossible to do, but in art, it’s what art does) can bite. So, Murillo takes painting to a prototype space, this array I have been using for a while is more or less another form distantly related to graphs based on the “expanded field” concept, but, then, dynamic agency takes over.

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if the painting is the gallery basis, and there is a meaning in the layerings, then a hole or break in the painting would take one through the looking glass into another space; that function is got to by the simple process of countering, then reversing back by reverse engineering to life in ostension, as noted previously. So, with this graph, let’s just say, using the formalist method I apply to film, that Murillo wants, like Turner did, to have in the backspace of his ground an indexical spot that touches upon the actual reality behind the painting, as such (just as I imagine that the vision of Polyphemus in Ulysses deriding is that indexical spot meant to startle one into or back into reality back of his painting). So, here, especially in Surge, it breaks back through that hole. That hole is in his current show.

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then taking with him the element of the stretcher, as I said, he leaps back into the prototype space.

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in his work he backbuilds not to cult, but to intercession, to opening up, so as it were in the interstices of the painting on canvas, the layers are reimagined as opened up in a prototype intercessional space, and thus the stretcher malforms into a bleachers; then, it occurs to him, this can harbor in it representations of people, the new year’s eve figures of Colombia, where he was born

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so we have what I viewed in the Zwirner show, a ritual spatial dimension, that is, the paintings in the pronaos, as it were, but, then, the bleachers, leading somewhere else, in the cella itself, this is where the gods are, in this exhibition.

0 0 42in this Manifestations show at Zwirner, in 2019, there were paintings, in the Surge series in the main gallery

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then, after you take in the process, and consider the formalist points

0 0 44you turn around

0 0 45approach

0 0 0 2you step into the adjunct gallery, and there are the bleachers.

0 0 45with a projector projecting one of his paintings in the other room on a wall opposite

0 0 47the projection acts as a device in the gallery of dematerializing the paint, but staying with the paint, and the aura of the brushing; it is like a false door, in ancient Egypt, it opens the door of the painting, out the back, then opens up into a spirit space, if you will, behind or within the facture of the stretcher world beyond. It also as video serves the purpose of the dematerialization of painting to act very much like a common device in film where watching a film, the real thing suddenly comes through to you, so this is a fairly commonly understood device (from a general not art world culture perspective).

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most people are likely to turn and look up, to stay with the painting; but, then seeing the dematerialization, feel the haunting, the removal to another space, with different entities in it, to then turn and look at the bleachers

0 0 49then you get the bleachers

0 0 50you see that, in effect, a number of the surfaces of the bleachers are worked with canvas and then downshifted or degraded examples of his workmanlike brushstroke as, in this lower condition milieu, it lets the climate of the space and its metaphor bespeak his stroke, to result in a cruder, simpler, more real world style, as if inherited from his stroke.

0 0 51and while you are free to think of the stroke on the canvas on the steps of the bleachers as just an expansion of the formalist stroke onto a stretcher that is really stretched out into a shaped form, that’s fine; except, now, you cannot help seeing that the under space is much more important than the surface space, there are figures under the seats, in the darkness, and discarded ones on top

0 0 52as he makes clear in other variations on this, you are meant to look into these vignettes of human presence, in a piece in Shanghai, he imagines a personage or figure on the bleacher, cooking some food

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or simply assembling a little group of tiny collectible pickups he or she has made to represent his basic human effort to, even in such a situation, try to remain human, by calling on his household gods.

0 0 54unfortunately, there are very few images of this bleachers, I broke away a few close-ups

0 0 55all of this, by asking you to step out to the farthest reach of his movement in media space behind but still attached by way of an expansion of the idea of stretcher to his paintings, he now asks you to burrow back in, as if to come up from behind into the paintings, to look more carefully for human presence in the interstices of all this. Again, this I have graphed out above, in a formalist way, as a simple extension.

I just want to mention in passing that usually I see backbuilding as only happening vis a vis cult, and the opening up of the agentic array. But on that array the vector can go to intercessional, votive or apotropaic, to take over the backbuilding, thus making for very different kind of spaces. To imagine that Murillo backbuilds to a cult space is absurd, where he seems to take this breakback into a prototype space is to the diasporic space of the intercessional doorway, and for him, this intercessional space is one of nightmare, then bounced out of, often leading to hypnagogic spaces.

0 0 56this way of viewing things, however, remains somewhat formalist, and might equate Murillo with, for example, Fontana, whom we discovered at an exhibition of them at Gagosian in 2012, went through the gash, into an ideal or prototype cult space beyond or behind it. This would also parallel my treatment of ancient Egyptian art, forever, when faced with depleted cult, burrowing back into the cult prototype space, to get a deeper ground, to shore up the cult (this also often happens in horror movies). But, if this is happening in an intercessional prototype space, that is something different. In cult prototype, it can remain in the space in the penumbra of the painting or work of art.

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but in intercessional prototype space, this would seem to open it out to doors, to passageways, to entries, to streets, etc.

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(and, in fact, the ancient Egyptians knew this too, making square viewing holes in tombs of kings to give the king a view of the night sky, all to aid in his catasterization

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there is also the notion that the Tut tomb had the beds of minor gods to serve as flying vehicles to transport him to heaven too, golden slippers too, with which to walk to heaven

0 0 60though I don’t want to go into it, this would in actual graphs likely work out as a compound agency as I think any deepening of the lore or magic rite or belief was a cult restoration/reinforcement task, which then would swing off into the intercessional agency. Also, I now see that the golden bed, which I have loved for a long time, is, in fact, a classic example of a Famulus, that is, an inanimate object become animate, and, for that, thought to be an early sighting of a conjure figure, so it is part of a conjuring, which is, of course, often intercessional.

It is important to know that while there is backbuilding to cult space, it seems to me that in Murillo there is shift from the primarily cult-reinforcing backbuilding to an intercessional-variant, and this opens up into a flowing, tunnel-oriented space. The question then is, where is this space, in terms of the mind? I situate the bleachers hypnagogically as a lattice, breaking down into hypnagogy, from the rational painting practice up across the Luor in vigilogogy. You pass through the nexus, represented by the video and its dematerialization, this comes at you in a kind of whoosh, if not THE whoosh (I am only just now exploring the lesser whooshes of softer splats).

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there is a nice example of this passage in the movie Madhouse (1974), Cushing having murdered people to prevent Price from taking the role of dr death from him, is watching a movie of this, in victory.

0 0 62the movie has a scene, then Price is burned

0 0 63but, then, close-up

0 0 64something in the shot seems ambiguous, not what it was

0 0 65then Price gets up to start to walk to him

0 0 66Cushing blinks, I can’t believe what I am seeing, it is a startle effect

0 0 67but, no, no doubt, Price is, while still in the movie, no longer “in” the movie, in terms of its plot, he has got up and is walking out of the movie, toward Cushing; this is a whoosh, an ambient attack of a conjure figure from out of the fire

0 0 68then there is a complete cover up of the eyes, not to believe it

0 0 69so Price comes out of the screen, into real space, to attack him

0 0 70it is a full on ambient-to-hypnagogic inyourface attack, a whoosh to nightmare

0 0 71this, then, is what happens when you cross the nexus, dematerializing, then, as it were, falling into a new consideration, passing into a below or beyond space, which, because of its intercessional pull, is larger than any imagined previously

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all I can gather from the personages is that they are there under the aegis of Hans Haacke’s Chocolate Meister, which seems to include the word Trumpf, so it is a “political” piece (but truth be told this sort of lateral pass to mention another work of art, to make the art about other art, then to also mention the politics of the day, is mostly just rationalization, providing clues to where to go with the piece, but, not, in my view (or until I look at it in more detail) elemental to getting into it entirely (in my social theory, he is talking about the under the bottom, a place below the bottom of the ladder, where, if you get knocked there by bad paperwork, or a record of any kind, in today’s computer-generated recordkept world, you are cooked, forever and ever, to live in a black market world below).

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But as the Surge paintings reach out into an Ambient space, to spin on your eye, and, taking in the sea as an idea in your mind too, that more open energy can in fact precipitate down and be caught up by ambient spins in the hypnagogic to then come swinging in to the lattice by way of the Under the Bed, or the Kunstkammer. This is precisely the hypnagogic space in which these figures live. They are reduced to anthroparions or, worse, like the haunted and disabled pulp figures in Suspiria (2018), their souls kept down by what’s in the kunstkammer, also below, and this is where we are. So, somehow, Murillo, by breaking loose from painting, but, still, within a painting universe, has, by moving past the expanded field to the hypnagogic mind field, opened up a space for new action. Chocolate Meister is the piece which, a while back, incited my current interest in his work.

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But, then, the best expression of the fullness of Murillo’s sense of space as it exists vis-à-vis his painting comes with his Turner Prize installation at Margate, 2019. This expansive arrangement I will cover in Part 2.

Tala Madani (at david Kordansky, September, 2019) and the hypnagogic haunting of Shit Moms.

rev., Oct 25, 2019.

Note: This is a POV piece based on online sighting of work which corresponds as possible case study to my interests, sans input by the explanations of the artist about her work. All pics from Kordansky Gallery website.

In the past 18 to 24 months, the art world has again surprised by a few new markets opening up, as if spontaneously, without forecast. This involves the striking reemergence of “figurative” art in all its forms, in a kind of painting which I call picture play. I named it that, well my first term was “game painting,” because it struck me that at long last what goes on on people’s phone and computer screens had somehow visually at last migrated into painting. That means that the painting happened in the interactive frontal space between viewer and canvas, and that viewers were expected to think of it in the same way as they do visuals on screen. It also meant that the image on the canvas was existing vis-a vis the visual universe of what appears on screens and for that reason, since the visual universe of selfie world is endless, in terms of art, measured against the more limited borderpatrolling of former media regimes, anything goes. But, then, I also call it “picture play,” this is more a fusionist idea. Picture play is what I call it when in horror movie something happens in a room or castle to cause injury or treatment of a portrait or picture in the house. If, for example, during a séance, as happens in The House That Will Not die (1973), the picture over the mantel falls off the mantel into the andirons, to then get pierced

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that is picture play.

It is also picture play, more distinctly, in a fusion mode, in art itself, when, for example, the artist Gregor Schneider, as he has done in a current show in Rome, selected 40 lesser works from the collection, hung them in a hallway, then got himself a ladder and a blowtorch and torched the pictures.

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Titus Kaphar would be an example of a painter who engages, in his modus operandi, in picture play, and picture play does, in fact, overlap with the first great plume of the new figuration, which I call the Black Portraiture boom. Engendered by the example of Kehinde Wiley and Kerry James Marshall, as well as Kara Walker. Because this marketplace seems more attuned to audience growth with non-art world audiences I also call this painting social justice painting, with a clear social purpose. This discourse has already laid down theoretical rationale from each of those involved, and, altogether, they add up into a discourse, with strong theoretical ground. It is fun to parse the scene, because it is so active, lively and alive to the moment, things happening like an old fashioned model of how I imagined artists interacted in a market model back in the 80s.

But, then, there is another side of the picture. Mainstream artists seem to have taken the new figuration into the direction of what JS unhelpfully calls “witchy figuration,” or neo-surrealism, both unsatisfying terms. There are so many approaches, all designed to create an emotional effect, that it is very hard to thrash out the good from the not so good. For that reason, I have brought to bear on the discourse my hypnagogic dream stage model, and dynamic agency hypnagogy theory, to determine if these paintings are hypnagogic (I think most are; but then to see if they, in fact, as I hold movies to this too, exemplify “visual wisdom”, that is, they are visual records of emotional currents that actually go through real minds when they are cogitating in a somewhat dreamy place). So, I “review” the work by running my model against it, if my model comes up with some evidence of truth, then I am ok with it, more so if the artists shows a broader insight into hypnagogic states, and, then, not so good, if it is just based on preexisting clichés created by the prefrontal imaginings to misrepresent the workings of the brain, for it to remain in power. And, so, in a fusion spirit (because you are going to have to know the tropes at large too, if you hope to do convincing hypnagogy in painting), I simply judge them or not based on their verisimilitude not to likeness, or resemblance, or realism, but to the dynamics of the mind in hypnagogy. This, then, has become a major frontline of my interest, and all such picture play art that seems to have taken a more interior turn, I call Hypnagogic painting, and value it more or less for adherence to a model thereof.

So, this is why earlier this season, in September, I latched on to the paintings of Iranian-born American artist Tala Madani. She not only has knowledge of hypnagogic states, but she has paused to extract from her experience of them some forms or tropes that signify. Then, too, she is not stuck in one state, as many hypnagogic painters are, but can move from place to place in the hypnagogic universe, in the manner of Neo Rauch.

In an excellent show at david Kordansky in September, Madani displayed the full range of her notion that we all live now in, in mediation, a hypnagogic world. In fact, the exhibition “starts” (in the sense that I am now re-placing them in sequence of going down into a dream zone) with cave pictures. There is a black and white one

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then a greener one,

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both signify to me the entrance into the hypnagogic world. I learned about the role that caves played in inducing such states in ancient Greece both from Deborah Larsen’s Nymphs, and then also from Yulia Ustinova’s book about caves and altered states of mind in ancient Greece as well (Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind), with parallels in many world cultures. It then surprised me that it did seem at one point di Chirico seemed to explore the same idea as the Caruso cave model votives left by votaries upon completion of their treatmentin 400 bc. Then, it is also true that my favorite artist of the moment, Jean Pierre Appriou, did a whole series of cave pieces last fall at Zurich. And, now, caves again. In my graphs, I simply identify the line of crossing over the gap, or the Luor (as I call it) into the hypnagogy, into a cave zone, as the same. So, it signifies that one’s visuality is altered by the assumption of a cave oversight.

Madani does seem to also have a model of where the type of visuality she is interested in comes from. In two works in the show, in the corners, which is important, she has diptychs in which half the painting is of a slide projector, then the other half is of what it casts on the adjacent wall, set up as as if a visual plain in a nexus reaching across the corner of the room. So, this

0 5then this

0 6leads to this, where, in the manner of an anamorphic baroque picture, the project projects a distortion of the image, as well as a blurring, or degradation of the image, to create an entoptic field of dreamy what-is-it?

0 7normally, in my system, any source of light situated in the vigilogic would be evidence of a High Light. A High light is that inner lightedness that lingers on after a high set blue dot in one’s still vilogogic entoptic zone passes over into a positive image in hypnagogy, and as a result of not letting go, of passing over with it, it remains a disruptive, insomnia-inducing presence preventing one from trying to get to better sleep. As one is in fact as a mind in a body trying to sink down into the body, to sleep, the High Light keeps pulling you back up. I have written of this before, here is where I situate it

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but Madani situates it across a corner, horizontally cast, with distortion, as if to retain the orientation of the imaging machine in reality, that is, it is a slide projector (which I always hated using or seeing images in). Rather than impose upon her placement of it, for now I am just going to assume that it is the same thing, she just imagines it as situated in a different place. That is, the projector is just outside or around the corner from hypnagogy, in the outlying Ambient zone, and as it casts an image in, it also allows for a measure of reagency by blurring the distorted image but, then, in the second one, bleeding another effect, so that it looks, at least to her imagination, like the figures are being as if spilled out of the anamorphic distortion, and taking on a life of their own.

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here is the one where there is a projector, at the other corner

0 11these are the figures that bleed out (this alone could be construed as a form of intramedial picture play as it seems as if the slides are positioned here as if parallel to traditional war pictures, or genre pictures that hang on the walls of a pub; but, then, now, the figures have come off or out of the picture, to attack, to be more real, in entoptic space, moving, then, on to the glass onion etc.

0 12Madani makes more specific what she thinks is happening as we absorb images, in a video, where, this time, a movie projector projects images on a screen in front of a man, but then whatever he sees on the screen now appears in his head, the video called Overhead Projector. My first impression of this video was that it was a nice statement of what the art of political polling has become, it is simply nothing more than a poll of how many people watched TV this past week, it is not like Americans actually have self-arrived-at opinions about all the issues of the day, it is not as if Americans going about their life really care about the Kurds, it is simply that for one week Trump’s decision to leave the Kurds to their fate in dealing with Turkey and Syria made them leverage points for Trump disputation, so they were cared about as the takedown heroes of the day.

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Madani lessens the visual wisdom of the work by having the projector simply project by richochet a previous video in which a bunch of people are trying to get control of a giant penis, to show that, ha ha, that is the only thing that is going on in most men’s brains (this from an earlier body of work). All this is fine, and I will not hold Madani to the fact that projecting such images on the prefrontal, or, maybe, with the emphasis on the top of the head, another place, does not involve authentic hypnagogy; but it’s ok, the main issue is that there is a force in vigilogogy that is the source both of the light and imagery of hypnagogic imagery

0 14this, then, establishes, as it were, a prologue to the rest of the work. does it speak to what will be going on in the other pictures? Actually, it does, though I did not pick this up in my quick breakdown of the images in my FB post in September.

But the proposition is that there is a light in vigilogogy that is the source of light and image in terms of what gets into the brain, the High Light, then what is translated to sleep as it were keeps a large part of Madani’s imagery in the realm of its origins in vigilogogy. That is, her images are haunted by the High Light, and, for that, may or may not get down into being actually hypnagogic. This may account for a mixed duality in the work that, in fact, works as a “figure” in art, but is not quite accurate in life. Just to jump ahead, my analysis of the imagery to come is that all of it fits perfectly into the phases of hypnagogy, and as a whole provides one with a whole visual journal of her hypnagogic musing on the subject of children. So, I saw a picture like this, and thought it was a perfect example of a conjure figure, and in particularly, Famuli, that is, forms taking shape out of inanimate forms, at an Ambient approach zone, the imagery getting closer to you. This, I thought, was not only an excellent rendering of the Black Out zone, which is where this sort of thing might in the mind occur, but, then, it was mostly about the objects, but then the babies seem to be developing out of it.

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this is fine, but, not quite accurate. In fact, the babies are already independent, and as I look with more care on the series, they are more or less independent of the process of hypnagogy in changing them. They exist as an excited or animated element that  cross- cuts the ensuing phase of hypnagogy. What is going on?

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in my previous reading, I saw the above image as A in Ambient conjure position as it begins to gravitate in into the hypnagogic glass onion zone to become a configure. In its current transition, it is a Famulus animating an inanimate form in the zone. But there is another problem. There is, in the vigilogogic a type of visualization in the entoptic field that is somewhat disturbing, and bothers me more as I look in on it more often. This concerns itself with what I call “punks”. That is, the fissures of the entoptic zone, animated by nervous energy, without any seeming relation or influence of anything in a dream day, seem to create as if a entoptic equivalent of an earworm to create a kind of imagery in the brain which has no clear origin. You close your eyes, the entoptic fissuring clusters, it forms an image, then, it is an image of say a TV host on a TV show you have never seen interviewing a singer you have never seen, as if stuck in some parallel universe. Last night, for example, I saw my entoptic field pinch into what looked more like an undersea coral reef with openings out of it, then I saw a figure “swim” into it and look out of that hole at me, and he seemed like a man from an old 50s movie. This happens so often, self-generated, without any intent, that it bothers me at times. These are punks, then, images with no connection, self-generated by my brain thinking on another level. They act as disturbance or interference in hypnagogy, and now and then one might actually travel across into the gap, to take part in the deeper, true hypnagogic formations below. This is now what I think happens here, the babies are in Madani’s vigilogogic state, but, then, they are on her mind, they exist on a screen in front of everything else she does, in this body of work, so that they jump the gap into the dream to show up in the dream in a fashion somewhat at odds from the scene, as if the only thing you want from it is to extinguish it. So, when you see the babies, those are avatar punks of Madani’s vigilogogic mind, imposed upon the simpler musings of the hypnagogic work. With that proviso, however, I will proceed simply taking that for granted, and deal with the babies as they come, in whatever stage of hypnagogy they come in on.

So, as Madani falls asleep, hypothetically, she comes upon some border imagery of a standard nature that signifies moving into a less material zone. The images simply by their reverie quality say, here we are, we are passing over. This picture of clothes lines and a sheet is based on long term use of dustsheets to cover furniture in vacant houses in horror movies, but also to the use a field of sheets hung out as laundry to dry, as a sighting site where she might first be broken in to the zone of haunting.

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here is another transitional threshold piece, a trope so numerously used it is taken for granted, blowing curtains, you are entering in.

0 0 1venetian blinds, as well as entry into vacant houses, are even simpler signifiers marking the crossing over into hypnagogy, these are all sources of entoptic effects, which she sees as maybe parallel to other visual works of art she’s seen, without psychogeographic locale in hypnagogy. Venetian blinds mean that everything you see on screen in this scene is shady, do not believe what you are seeing. There are also some ghosts

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All this is fine, and I now account for the presence, already, of the ghost babies, or whatever, as representing “punks” that are on her mind, in vigilogogy, which she cannot rid of in her mind, so they interfere with and pollute, as it were, the hypnagogic passage, these are therefore mixed, partly rationalized images of the descent.

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Finally, there is always, in such an ensemble, an anchor piece, which is the best of the lot, and signifies in a general way where an artist is going, and what she knows, visually, about how to get there. The Sleeper is by far the best painting in the show, mainly because it is hypnagogically true, on several levels. On one level, it also deals with bedsheets, but they are upset, rolled into forms, as if upset by tossing and turning in the night. At present, in this view, you cannot tell if there is a body in the bed, or the sheets in the bed have, as in the manner of the classic trope of putting some pillows in your bed to take your place, and fake out parents from doors checking to see if their kids are in bed.

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but the fact that you cannot tell what’s what means that it is also a transitional piece. It is an entoptic field, sheets are there alone, but there is also a movement toward figure, so this means this is the very slightest and far off sense of a conjure figure taking shape, with presence. In fact, in close-up, there is NO person there, but the bedding is quite distinctive

0 22there is a full form, suggesting a body on the left; then, it seems to be being strafed by ambient light coming in, giving it a certain secondary layer of possibly sighting. There is also on the left a more sinuous form, maybe suggesting another sleeper, or just a throw of another blanket; but then too in general the light cast over it all, coming from the opening at the left, seems to indicate an empty bed, then too it is such a vast bed, even more than a double, it seems. All in all, it can only then be called an image of sense of presence.

0 23depending on one’s nervous state, it being entirely liminal, that is, at the edge, you will see it as abstract, or see it as figural; either someone is not there, or there, which is it? (The added interest here as to how ambiguous it gets it that in my current posting on rmarts, updating a note I made on the very careful picture play of a sequence in Halloween (1978), I mentioned that I had heard last year a joke, at the expense of this sort of thing, ghosts interacting with sheets).

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Because it exists entirely on the razor’s edge of the crossing over, it acts as well as a dreamcatcher. And to emphasize that I am beginning to appraise such picture play pictures by their hypnagogic truth to life, I noted as well that it could serve as an actual dreamcatcher, which I saw hang over Frenchie’s bed in The Nun (2018) (see rmarts post), to catch in transition his thoughts coming back up into consciousness, to leave them there, caught.

So, I place them, vis a vis a body on a bed, which in hypnagogy is in the center of the lattice, as such.

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But then, there is another dimension to the image, which activates even more. There is a partly open curtain at the window on the left. It is a blue gap in the curtain, letting in ambient light. The light then is cast across the bed, but also cast across the ceiling over the bed.

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then there is a collection of the light in a corner, in the upper right, where the light seems to strike a mirror or a door, but, in it, there is also a round “head’ like element, so it prompts an “is anybody there?’ inquiry.

0 27Then, from there, the eye comes around under the bed, and then turns the corner of the bed, to enter onto the bed from the end. Thus, the presence is just a presence, it has no form, but there is an inkling. It could be a Gray, then, there is an inference of a walk around the bed, gingerly stepping past what is under the bed, and this is a dynamic of going round a corner that I think elemental to the characterization of the entry into dream, for it to then come up on the sleeper, in bed.

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and so, in fact, having a dynamic that amounts to a conjuring by the imagination of a presence that turns into a force that can walk around one’s bed to enter it from the foot, that is a conjuring formation. It abides by my model, which I have been feeling a lot from this season, of an ambient force, emitting a power that conjures up a something in the corner of the eye, that is the sighting of a presence, that is what we have here in the upper right; but, then, next time (and this was mapped out in my treatment of Whistle and I’ll Come to You), it takes on a recognizably human form, that does not quite happen here, but that would be a Figment; then, it somehow fuses with or involves itself in its generative sighting with an object in the room, that is, an alibi formation, except that this time it is there, this is a Famulus, a special kind of closer-in conjure figure that I have had trouble with this year (meaning, I saw one, in real life); and then, at last, it turns into, at the sighting, coming in at you, no longer her having any doubt that it is there, it is a monster or a figure, with an animated life of its own, and that is a Configure, or Conjure Figure. We don’t get to this stage here, but because the picture both in the subject, the bedding, and the object, the invading sense, the light in the corner, the sense of presence, then, too a slight animation, and because that animation walks around the bed as a pure form of nervous energy, it is true, this is as it were a vaccinating haunting of the viewer’s eye, to block all such out when actually sleeping. It is, that is, like to like, by sympathetic magic, a dreamcatcher, repressing fear, blocking out bogeys that might haunt you in your dreams. It is a wonderful picture.


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But it remains rather general, too. Now comes a series of works that I think were particularly sharp, given the reinterpretation now as the babies as interference sent down from the High Light, in mapping out, in fact, the invasion of the soul by a conjure figure. It is the precision of the placement of the dynamic of these pieces that most excited me, the extraneous Shit Mom or baby meanings aside. So, then, the lay out in the abstract the dynamic of a conjure haunting.

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first, as noted, what you see is a presence, if just a shadow, out of the corner of one’s eye, it just exists out there, it bothers you, spinning there, but stays put, you are creeped out, but it remains entirely, abstractly an ambient force, given its nature and my need for names for these things, I am going to lift the term Throbber from computers, and suggest that definition gives a bit more meaning to what this is, as it indicates that it is there, something is happening, you are being influenced by it, but it all remains in the background, it is a throbber, so, an update on my chart

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Then it scares you a bit by coming in on you. When it crosses from pure ambience, the zone of nonfigurative spin, it latches onto an entoptic staple and thus becomes a Figment, that is, a pareidol in whatever element it takes form in, in my treatment of Francis Bacon and also Whistle and I’ll Come to You, it was newspaper blowing; then, as it moves closer in to the glass onion stage, it latches onto a more solid object, closer to the materiality as it would be of the thing you suspect it now of being, and in that it also becomes distinctly and clearly animated, so, now more question now, it is there, a kind of ghost, that is, named after the familiar of witches, a Famulus; finally, as it at last comes in on you, to scare you, to cause you to bounce up, that is a Configure. There is also the problem that, if you are like the professor in Whistle, and set up a model of prefrontal rationality to give form to the mind, with no allowance for the fluidity created by surfacings in vigilogogy of hypnagogic effects, then you might be startled awake by the up-close nature of the Configure, for it to then be pulled up with you, to, then, in vigilogogy, come out, or crawl out, or come alive, as the bedsheet in the bed next over did to the professor, to, then, disbelieving it, he already being on the edge, drive him mad, this is the demon.

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And the most amazing thing in these paintings is that Madani seemed to acknowledge this gradation of sighting of a demon, coming in on you as a conjure figure. Although all of this, for her, is figured out, as it were, by the imposition of the babies on her mind in vigilogogy, we see in various shots the stages that they play in the creation of a conjure figure. That is, she has figured out the process of conjuring up, by the babies acting as if figurative representations of the visualizing states we go through, as a conjuring approaches. So, early on, there is a straight on shadow created in a dreamy room, this is an entirely ambient presence, nothing more, a something in the corner of the eye

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It is interesting at this point to also mention that Madani installed these with some sense, though not entirely consistent, that this sort of thing is “in the corner of the eye,” in wide ambient, spinning space. The fact that this appears to be one of the small paintings, and the small paintings are contrasted with larger ones, and seem to be involved in capturing these more intimate, finely sliced moments of hypnagogy, may relate

0 35Then, as we come closer, and as we get closer in, passing into hypnagogy, we now see forms, which she now shifts over into the shit patterns, suggestive of a presence of figures, in her case ghost babies busy in the very creation of a conjure figure, so I count these marks as a Figment, they have, for their reach, ergonomically, an inference of human form, made by small ghost forms, on over a piece of furniture also negatively formed to accommodate human form.

0 36 (2)Passage could also be tentatively placed, for the abstraction of the milieu, then the footprints in the sand disappearing as they cross, then the form it forms, the shitform, being the substance and form of the conjure figure, if a bit too figural, as a simple hnh, seems like there is something there, ie a Figment.

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There is also in this one, Quads, a sense that, in the ambient light, the dirt in the scene has begun to the eye to look figural, not quite, and its not quietness is by far its most interesting aspect, but being formed by avatars of her worrying brain, to begin to take shape, another, that is, Figment, precisely as I define it

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This is another delirious vision, if she is now identifying with the shit, and the whole saga is a journal as it were of her feeling entirely crushed by the labor involved in having and raising kids; but, then, also imagining that if she is a different person now than she was before, they, the babies, the demon babies, they in fact enacted themselves in my life by making me the Frankenstein of my new being. So, here under an entoptic play of red and spot light, as if on stage, or under the sea, they once again are busy drawing out the figure of a woman on the floor, in shit, for it to begin to look like an actual figure, but it is a Figment, an inference of figure in an entoptic-from-ambient visual

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I do not, in any way, demand that an artist working in their imagination in any way corresponds to my mapping out of a model of it. This is another variant of the previous in which by making the white light shine with a bit more lightning fury, then directing it almost as if the bolt of lightning that created Frankenstein, then, in the process, this being so revolutionary, that even the avatar baby thought he better make a reinforcement extra baby out of the shit too, this is actually set up in the entoptic zone previously used to render the appearance of a Figment, but now has lept in to actually bring to form a distinctly human form which can now be imagined as being a haunting figural ghost form, that is, a Configure, which appears when the conjuring approach enters into the Lattice level, below.

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But, by far, my favorite paintings here, for showing such precise visual wisdom in capturing an actual transitional phase of the conjuring of a figure in the frightened mind, for it to then by its phases come in on you and attack, is Madani’s work with the Famulus. The Famulus, to review, is a figurative form that now in fact takes on a form very like something human or animal, but which remains in material and frame somehow stuck transitionally inside a piece of furniture or some other form. It is, in fact, an animated or to-be-animated form caught in an inanimate object. It is a well known haunting, and I now have the pleasure of pinpointing precisely where it can be found in the brain of a light sleeper, it exists as the conjuring approach enters into the glass onion level of hypnagogy, latching onto any of the furniture or other forms which exist there, to make symbols. So, in this wonderful piece, Madani pictures a still more intense level of the avatar babies creating a new sense of self for her as shit mom, they are making sandcastles, out of shit, which, we see, will be becoming a woman, but at present, at this limn, on the Perfect Beach (a place colonized by dechirico too), she is still in the form of a sandcastle

0 43 (2)Construction is by far my favorite theory piece in the show because, again, it shows keen insight into a specific phase of conjuring up of a figure in the mind. It exists, in fact, a little more on the far side toward nonfigurative, of the Sandcastles, because I am not sure what those pinks things are, it strikes me that they might very well have got somehow pulled into a Black Out zone

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Then there is a certain construction of shit in which two legs are straddled by a crossbar, which might be formable into a figure; then too there is a slumped over half figure something on the left. This is really, truly, under construction, and for being able to identify this precisely as a Famulus, is special

0 45One note about this, however, just to offer another possible reading. The ultimate goal of the shit moms as conjure figures is that they are, in fact, going to come zeroing in on her to present themselves as grasping nightmare forms, and that will cause a nightmare splat, lept out from, but maybe also only bounced out from. The latter would end us up in a Black Out in Ambient space, a twilight zone of arrest outside hypnagogy again, and so one might take Shitty di Milo as a final nightmare shot, the shit monster come in from the ambient light, in a deeply evocative-of-conjure green room with dawn light, causing you to bounce out.

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So it may be that Construction is another one-off errant fit of nervous response, which ends us up, nonsequentially, in, perhaps, a cycle of nightmare bounce out, typical of the insomnia induced by the High Light, that input represented by worries, which are figured out here with the vigil forms of the babies, this then ends one back in the Black Out for an eternity seeming to have to address the rebuilding of one’s self, one’s self-esteem from scratch, forever, over and over again.

0 48Something like this (with another weird thing being that the composition, like a scirpograph, almost underlies and matches the psychodynamic force under the picture).

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But, then, now, at last, we come into the conjuring approach right up close to the sleeper, and this is the Configure stage, lattice to lattice, in which the conjuring figure now has animation, and form, if not substance, there it is a demon, up close, tormenting, but, in her world, such as in dream Riders, the avatars of her worries play with and even torture her (not sure if that is toilet paper coming out of her mouth, which would make her head a dispenser thereof, thus suggesting entirely she remains an inversion of her creation too).

0 50 (2)Then, finally, we get to the point where the thing comes in on one to wake one up, or bounce you out; but just in that last phase of approach, it begins to haunt you, and turn on you, and it as if gloms onto you, and clings to you, and you see it behind you in bathroom mirrors at one’s toilette.

0 51 (2)it even washes your hair, which is, in fact, a haunting I have seen (re The Grudge)

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now as in Nature Nurture it tries to nurture you, not sure if it is doing it

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and at this phase, it is all over you, making a life for you, and at some point the babies will decide what kind of life it was, parenting, the eternal conundrum.

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This closeness, in fact, at this level, posits a fifth, touching, waking up, nightmare presence of the Conjure Figure, when, in fact, it takes over, so this is it, it comes round the bed, then hovers over you, in your face, mirroring you, this is a Sleep demon deluxe, a Conjure demon, is all I can call it now (it is close cousin to the manon in Fuseli’s Nightmare, but not quite the same thing; it is of interest, however, that Fuseli’s picture seems to also have a hierarchy, the curtains are the Figment, the white horse is, perhaps, the Famulus, and then the Configure, or, either or a demon, comes in).

0 57this is the trajectory of the attack

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One does wonder, Madani is clearly looking back on her motherhood years (or wondering of it, if she is not, personally, a parent), or at the idea and expectations of motherhood; and she is without a doubt haunted by thoughts that maybe, though try as she might, she was nonetheless a shitty mom, and she is in her sleep, insomnia, forever caught under the interrogation of the High Light, flooding her mind with worries in the form of the putti babies, and in the show as well as conveying a general sense of unease at how she did with mothering; she was, more specifically here, in the truly thrilling momentum of the show, specifically haunted by a conjure figure that started out, as they do, as a mere something in the corner of her eye, then it took some form, as Figment, at the edge of the entoptic; then it got closer, and in the glass onion, it became strange Famuli figures; at last it took form in shit to then be played with, as a Configure, in the lattice; but at last it had to come all the way in, to bounce you in the nightmare, as Sleep Conjure demons attacking her.

Like I said, I will now more often than not be judging the value of a new figurative type of picture play painting by whether or not it has “visual wisdom,” which is, imagery in art that captures the truth of effects of the mind in life, a matching up that by itself alone cuts through the rationalized sand-lines drawn by the rationalists when discussing identity, to concede at least that every artist alive is human, and in our dreams, and in our nightmares, that is all we are.