MYSTERIUM ESSE REVELANDUM by Marie Christiane Seiferth – 2012, by Fábio Magalhães – 2021, by Magnólia Costa

Mysterium esse revelandum by Magnólia Costa
A Mystery to be Revealed – Mysterium esse revelandum, an installation by Elizabeth Dorazio, is a column made of hand-cut, hand-drawn polypropylene blue-hued slender pieces.The column goes from the ceiling to the floor, referring to the axis mundi concept introduced by mythologist Mircea Eliade, who mapped symbolic representations of the spiritual and material connections between sky and earth in different cultures. In Tibetan Buddhism, this connection is symbolised by a natural element (Mount Kailash). It has correlatives in traditions as diverse as Hinduism (Mount Meru) and Aboriginal, which is manifested in areas that are quite far apart, such as Africa (Kilimanjaro), Oceania (Uluru), and South America (Salcantay). For thousands of years, the connection between that which is sensitive and that which is intelligible has been symbolized by monumental constructions such as pyramids and ziggurats, more recently, by functional architectonic elements such as towers and minarets. In the Jewish-Christian tradition, the transit between earth and the cosmos is represented by Jacob’s Ladder, connecting that which is immemorial to eternity. Columns are icons stripped from their magical powers by modern societies, which had been attributed to them in the past. This icon lost its magic; however, it acquired universal archetypical power. This motivated Constantin Brancusi (Infinite Column, 1935) to insert it in an artistic context, followed by Anish Kapoor (Ascension, 2011; Cloud Column, 2018), who consolidated columns as iconic presences in contemporary art. With Mysterium esse revelandum, Elizabeth Dorazio emphasizes the archetypical power of columns through images such as the double helix that structures DNA, the iconic biological molecule that encloses the secret of origin. Dorazio draws on slender pieces of polypropylene, a material evoking both lives that have been extinct for millions of years and the 20th Century technological evolution, now turned into a menace to the future of humanity. In this installation, Dorazio arranges these slender pieces from the ceiling to the floor in a descending sense, likening the column to a waterfall, a purifying element associated with transcendence by many different cultures around the world. Executed with notable detailing on very light material, a monumental Mysterium esse revelandum is conceptually and visually adequate to the Louvre Abu Dhabi architecture, whose lightness is enhanced by the light that floods its tracery dome. At once impacting and serene, Elizabeth Dorazio’s installation invokes many different sensations. Lightning resources make the column seem solid from a distance. Still, this illusion is gradually undone as one gets closer to the work, revealing drawings of fossils, microorganisms, and molecules of the translucid slender pieces that make it up. With this contemporary icon, Dorazio gives science the position previously occupied by magic, reaffirming that human beings possess an infinity of mysteries to be revealed during their brief passage through life.

Magnólia CostaPhD, an Icom member, art critic, curator, and founder of the remote education platform
Magnólia Costa.Art

Mysterium esse revelandum by Fábio Magalhães
The breath is the energy of movement and also the atmosphere that inspires the artist. Movement is life, a life that turns itself into space and time. In Elizabeth Dorazio’s visual poetics, it is a metaphor for dream and memory. For Elizabeth, art is not just a way of representing the world, but also an affective way of being in the world. For the artist, therefore, the meaning of territory is “being inside”. Belonging to a territory is being mixed, imbricated with the things of the place. “Mysterium Esse Revelandum” is a work made of polypropylene sheets in oceanic colors, cut by hand and then sewn together with a nylon thread. They cascade freely to create a mass of transparencies that look and feel like a waterfall. Upon a purple splash shape covering the floor, the artist loosely scattered small droplets. Chained transparent cuts, suggesting the DNA strand, and drop-shaped x-ray fragments hang from the composition. Organic and micro-aquatic structures are randomly drawn. The work has its own lighting, which the artist constructed to emphasize transparencies and underline the game of revelations and concealments. “I work with layers, just as a geologist works with layers. Or just like an anatomist works with layers. My layers are undone to reveal, they overlap and describe new formations. They cascade, they orbit, they dissipate. My work is born as fragments — disparate pieces that are interpenetrated, stitched, glued, broken, hung, tied, bonded or even set with hairspray. I’m interested in layers beyond mere artistic technique; for me, layers are like accumulated memories, the way history is made, or time is formed. In the Mysterium esse Revelandum installation, I refer to the all embracing motif of the cosmos and the internal nexus between all beings in the universe. The energy emanating from the work turns waterfalls into palpable masses and create the impression of permanent energy. The background of sounds within the work sends back the always identical tone enduring in space to its original metaphysical destination. Thus, is the human being integrated to the eternal flow of time and space, supported by the infinite and able to be conceived as part of cosmic whole. Two needs motivate me: to deconstruct and to reconstruct.” In this work, Elizabeth plunges her expression into the adventure of water and its representation, and she exposes its germinal meaning for life on Earth and for the human being who lives on it. The artist creates a rich metaphor for liquid resources and unending lyrical unfolding. Water is not only represented to express an element of nature or a substance — it is a poetic territory where life flows and renews itself. It is also a way of defining a throbbing place, and Elizabeth Dorazio leads us inside, so that we can bathe in its waters.

Fábio MagalhãesBrazilian museologist and art critic, Statutory diretor of MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Cultural Committee Coordinator of MAM SP – Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Member of the Board of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Mysterium esse revelandum by Marie Christiane Seiferth
The aim of this installation, Mysterium esse revelandum, is to encourage people to approach the composition, with it impressive dimensions. While wandering around this artwork, visually exploring it from top to bottom, discovering all of its details, the viewer becomes entwined into a flow of thoughts about the many questions it raises.
It comprises superimposed layers of synthetic foil in a range of aquatic colors, all held together by a ceiling support from where the layers lithely tumble down, woven together in pieces, and spread across a synthetic, purple background in the form of a splattering drop onto which droplets have been splashed and small cutout points spread throughout. Within the composition of colors, the internal layers contain the deepest of those that make up the tones of water, and the layers, arranged in chains and fixed with nylon yarn, are reminiscent of a waterfall. Outside the piece are hanging transparencies in the shape of globules and droplets. Among them are fragments of radiographs cut into the form of drops of water. The viewer gains an inside view of the innermost parts of a biological organism, and thus discovers an internal, inaccessible world.
Transparent cutout shapes dangling from the various elements of the composition are, due to its very structure, suggestive of a DNA chain. In turn, within the transparencies, it’s possible to catch a sporadic glimpse of thin lines drawn in red that correspond to organic and micro-aquatic structures. The composition encourages and indeed demands an active gaze to thus both create a relationship, in an adorian sense, between the viewer and the artwork. This transforms reflection into dynamic action in which, as the work’s title promises, the mystery is revealed.. The title Mysterium esse revelandum is a reference to the Latin manner of expressing a task that has to be performed, which in Portuguese would correspond to the verb dever (to owe) or the phrase é para ser (it is to be). Therefore, the purpose of the installation is to initiate a confrontation between each of its underlying motifs and the fundamental thoughts regarding the mysteries of life and of existence itself which, according to the title, should be and are to be revealed to each and every one of us. If we consider that each individual to be the subject of her/his own story, who should seek the path that reveals the existential questions of life, then this artistic installation becomes an invitation for people to look inside themselves, providing a moment of contemplation and active reflection.

Marie Christiane Seiferth

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