Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crowley in Paris

Just time to visit if you are in Paris: the paintings of Aleister Crowley!

Until June 29 at the Palais de Tokyo, as part of the general exhibition "Traces du sacré" at the Centre Pompidou until August 11.

Aleister Crowley settled at Cefalù (Sicily) in the 1920s. There he founded the Abbey of Thelema, the site of social experiments and research into the field of the occult. The series of paintings exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo was discovered a few years ago in a nearby village. Some of them of course conjure up the “Abbey”, or its wider context. The series makes explicit the importance of the image and symbol in the occult field. Recent study of the series demonstrates its connection to the Thoth Tarot cards, a form of the game devised by Crowley 20 years later (1938-1942).

Between oneiric visions, psychotropic hallucinations and the utopia of a primitive paradise, the whole of his work has influenced the counter-culture and pop music to an equal extent. The discovery of these paintings provides an opportunity to question the complexity of this heritage.

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