Catharsis. Rituals of purification

From: Thursday, 09 March 2006

To: Sunday, 04 March 2007

Place: South Gallery

All works of art can have many different meanings. All works of art are open to a variety of enlightening interpretations. This is one of the reasons that justifies the raison d'être of a collection and provides a motive for making more than one visit to the Centre-Museum. "Catharsis. Rituals of purification" is only one of its possibilities. Provide your own. There will be others in the future.

We are about to begin a journey through representation, through the world of metaphor, of allusions and it is advisable to establish where exactly we are starting from. Today, there is no representation; what there is, is real, nothing more.

Representation is the origin of catharsis. Without action, without the projection of reality, it is not possible to make progress in a journey that will lead us to purification and complete the cathartic process.

This is pure emotional representation, the idea of aesthetic sublimation or references to this. In this chapter we focus upon the abstract sensitisation that provokes pleasure, evocation and other incisive and (very often) indefinable emotions.

The mask
In the performance, masks help actors in their interpretation of what is alien to them. Through masks, a distance is created between oneself and what is represented. The unwanted corners of our being are concealed and our emotions are expressed with greater freedom.

The tragedy
Tragedy, according to the Aristotelian principle, is the key element that produces the state of catharsis. In this section, tragedy is represented clearly and, according to traditional cathartic dogma, from this point onwards, the tragedy should arouse emotions of compassion and fear and, at the end of the process, should induce a state of purging and purification in the spectator.

After watching the performance, we enter a state of awareness, of zooming in on the problem that has reached our inner being through the performance of the tragedy. It is necessary to put the mechanisms, the mental contrivances that will allow us to face the crisis, into motion.

The burden
The weight that overwhelms us, that prevents us from reacting. The pain that makes us incapable of distinguishing between reality and optical illusion. The difficult and dangerous moment of finally being overcome by its heavy burden.

The heads
The places inhabited by consciousness and lucidity appear like a fixation, like an area in which the forward look at the spectator and at the heads themselves, ask questions, demand urgent responses. Looks or unspoken words that are nothing but an intermediary, a veil between two minds placed face to face.

The mechanisms, the keys.
This section attempts to define the state of autonomy of decisions. The capacity to be alone or not in the ultimate decision-making process. Therefore, this necessary and difficult solitude requires a clear sense of vision to be able to open the doors and continue the journey. For this reason, this section presents works in which metaphors have an essential presence.

The doors
The boundaries, the exits, the gaps are the first horizon. These formalise the desire to enter, leave or for change . The cathartic process begins its transformation with the search for possible solutions to express the need to purge one's emotions.

In art, doors (be they open or closed) are essential. They are one of the themes that speak most clearly of solutions and restraints.

The rite forms part of the cathartic process as, by means of repetition, sacrifice, the purification process begins to cleanse the soul, catharsis. In art, the ritual experience is produced in the repetitive celebration of art itself and in the therapeutic expression of its contents.

The liturgies
The forms, the set of actions with which rites are represented, are the signs of art that express celebration, greeting, penitence, will or desire.

The exvotos
The offering, the gift and the acknowledgement of a benefit received, have their correspondence in art, where there are many artists and works in which objects and their representations seem to recognise their capacity to achieve the impossible and, in the same way, instead of recognition, exercise their right to criticise.

Finally, after covering the entire process, after making a journey in which catharsis and art have followed parallel paths, and one has explained the other, the moment of purification, change and discovering the role of art in the interpretation of the world and of human beings, has arrived. It is the moment for releasing negative emotions through explosion, expulsion and silence. A new look imposes itself.

The explosion
The first act of purification which perhaps is a provoked and involuntary reflection, but which seems inevitable, nonetheless. The fact is that the conditions force this burst of creative violence. An instantaneous detonation that destroys the old interior order.

The expulsion
In catharsis, the expulsion of negative emotions is the key moment. But, in the same way, the release and cleansing of that negativity also implies the overflowing, the flood, the swamp that colonises other spaces. Whether it will disappear or, on the contrary, lead the way to other possibilities, is anyone's guess.

The silence
After completing the cathartic process, finally the moment arrives to recognise that everything has changed and that the time has come for transformation. In the declaration of intentions, this is the thunderbolt of the new consciousness, of the casting off of old certainties and of showing a new face. Of the critical awareness that we, the world and everything else, must behave differently.

This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand