Land of Darkness (Al-Khidr), 2018, handmade egg tempera on wood panel, 55 x 125 cm
What we call the day prevents me from seeing. Solar daylight blinds me to the visionary day. The blaze of day prevents me from hearing. From seeinghearing. ... I must escape from the broad daylight which takes me by the eyes, which takes my eyes and fills them with broad raw visions. I do not want to see what is shown. I want to see what is secret. What is hidden amongst the visible. I want to see the skin of the light.
Hélène Cixous, Writing Blind
"Land of Darkness" is a literary reference to a mythological place that Alexander the Great (Iskandar) encounters with sage Al-Khidr while questing for immortality and the water of life. Here, I am contemplating ideas of empire, occupation and religious fervor compounded by archetypal search for self-realization and utopian civilization.
According to the story, not even fire from the seekers' torches could penetrate the darkness; certain vision is only available in total shadow.
What is the role of gravity this land of dissolving illusions? What is a substance, and what is a mirror? Does this archetypal odyssey lead to madness or illumination?