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"mysticism" Tag

Pasolini, In Theory

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pasolini on the Set of Teorema, photo Angelo Novi

Pasolini, during the filming of the desert scenes for Teorema


“Who is that boy?”

At the beginning of Teorema (1968), a film by the Italian director, writer, poet, and leftist intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini, this question is asked. The subject of the question (played by Terence Stamp) is the visitor of an Italian bourgeois family, and at the moment it is raised, he has just entered the room of their house where at the same time a party is taking place.

In the film, it is through him that each member of the household (the mother, father, son, daughter and maid) will experience a certain crucial moment, through a brief relationship, wherethrough each of them will come to a realization about their life. When, in the middle of the film, the visitor suddenly has to leave, the film shows us how each member of the household tries to cope with his absence, and the resulting insight.

Pasolini, in his cleverness, manages to let the viewer experience a similar feeling, all while focusing on his views of society;  the uncertainty in the relation between the film’s prologue and the main part of the film is resolved in the last scene, and beautifully so.


Teorema film still #1

Teorema film still: The father walks through nature after a rendezvous with the unnamed visitor


A natural sacredness

Thematically, in these moments of realization, nature is used as a central theme, and throughout the film, shots of a desert are used as a motif. It is also a very visual film, and in it slowness, with little dialogue and scenes which flow in and out of one another, it displays a visual rhythm, a certain serenity, which invites the viewer in. In its ambiguity—it is a very open-ended film—it offers ample room for the viewer to put meaning into the work—and it is in this way that I consider it to be one of the finest art films. It is a film that keeps one mystified for weeks—and as such it made a most lasting impression on me.

Through its use of natural themes and its visual language, the film conveys a natural mysticism—reminiscent of Romanticism. As an example, it surely must not be a coincidence that the visitor is reading Rimbaud while sitting in the garden at some point. For Pasolini, nature had this timeless, miraculous, aspect.



Interested in this moment of realization which is connected to nature, I thought of a headpiece which would convey similar feelings. My first approach was to do something which would frame the face, thereby putting a focus on the eyes, mouth; like a veil as it appears in The Gospel According To St. Matthew, or as can be seen in portraits of Humanists such as Erasmus, or Petrarca—or the sight of someone, partly hidden behind a tree branch.


Pasolini’s use of anachronisms, as apparent in The Gospel According To Saint Matthew, seemed an interesting element to take on too. As an example, the Roman soldiers in the film appear as if stepped straight out of a renaissance painting, while in another scene Odetta’s live performance of Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child from 1960 is played in the background. Later on, records of pieces by Prokofiev, Mozart and Bach can also be heard, all clearly out of time. It marks, as far as I know, the first intentional use of anachronisms in cinema—and it works beautifully, as evident to anyone with eyes and ears.

As a person, Pasolini had many contradictory characteristics, being a marxist and atheist while working with religious themes, a homosexual who found inspiration, and perhaps a sense of consolation, in traditional Italian values. Instead of hiding the uncertainties that would come out of such contradictions, he decided to bring them to the center of his work, and in my opinion this is particularly interesting.

Related to the visual arts, he also experimented with drawing and painting, and in these experiments worked with non-ordinary materials, such as coffee, glue and tea, producing interesting sculptural effects.

As a loose interpretation, I translated this to thinking about the use of certain unnatural materials that surprisingly seemed to contain natural characteristics—concrete slabs which had dried in such a way that a leaflike structure was present on the surface, mortar, branches of trees and pieces of aluminium.

Similar to his (in form), my first experiments, trying to deal with the fragility of the concrete and mortar, consisted of an assemblage of these on a flat frame—to frame the face—itself made out of chicken wire, combined with a colour palette which was derived from the visual aspect of his work. But these went astray, both in form and content.

Deciding that I needed to shift my focus on the sublime aspect of these natural, mystical moments—in a scene in Teorema for example,  the maid’s body is partly covered with soil; in another, the daughter repeats daily the steps that she once walked with the visitor through the garden of the house—it became apparent that the headpiece itself would need to induce such a moment.  

Chipping off slim slabs from a block of two kinds of river clay with a metal spatula, I built up a flexible fabric of inflexible building blocks. By puncturing the clay before it dried with a needle, they could be tied together with thread to form a rectangular lattice structure, which I modified in specific places to follow the curvature of the face. 

Pasolini talked of “this longing for life, this sense of exclusion, which does not lesson, but augments this love of life” as the mark that dominated his work. As such, a headpiece which can only be worn when laying down on the ground seemed fitting in its passiveness, while referencing natural elements, as discussed above.

Arranged on the bottom, as a pillow, are loose slabs of a slightly darker clay.


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finding a new book with the tags; “alchemy, identical, metaphysics, mysticism and mythology” was more difficult then I expected.
Still, all the time my eyes lingered back to this one book lying on its back, showing on the cover naked classical looking ladies, who are eating grapes, playing the the Arabic ‘ud’, and generally having a good time.
Not to difficult to associate with my tags ofcourse, its only logical.
The title of the book is “Oriëntalisten (orientalism)”. The subject of the book tells about the western depiction of aspects of eastern culture by writers, designers and artists, which is hostile and inaccurate, and mainly based on stereotypes.
It sounds fascinating, but within all likeliness I will not read a single word of its content. A pitty.

905.2 sai

Subjective Library on Flickr

Monday, November 16, 2009

“subjective library” on Flickr

click on the images above to find some of the tags as we translated them into images for you. If you want to check them all out go to …… /subjective library /click people link

selection made by Matthias Kreutzer and Henk Groenendijk

Alchemy and Mysticism

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I rented two books ‘Alchemie & Mystiek’ edition 1997 and edition 2006, just to be on the safe side if one where to be better then the other one, no difference between them in the end. I randomly picked the 1997 edtion because it was laying on its back, and would have returned it had the contents not been so fascinating. Here a selection;

Macrocosmos, Ptolemaeus, Brahe, Copernicus, Sun, Moon, Lower Astronomy, Divine Bodies, Genesis, World-egg, Opus Magnum, Elementa chemicae, Adams Fall, Chaos, Ressurection, Aurora, Filosofical Tree, Sefiroth, Ab uno, Oedipus chimicus, Snake, Conjunctio Rosarium Philosophorum, Androgyn, Separatio, Trinity, Fire, Filosofical-egg, Matrix, Source, Dhristus-lapis, Blood, Microcosmos, Human form Divine, Brains and memory, Rotation, Divine geometry.

These concepts gave me associations to my childhoud, when i used to read a lot about these subjects. But these days it reminds me more of the fascination of man, trying to percieve reality trough metafysical thinking.  How he failed miserably,  but through his failing created great stories and art

905.0 roob 1

reserved space

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

“subjective library” images and flickr tag-cloud

Read the reflections of A and C group’s journey into the Rietveld Library’s Design and Art section. This journey to investigate, made our fascinations, preconceptions and hidden desires manifest. How does a subjective book choice create a personal mirror and leaves traces of tags, connecting Design to Art, exposing autonomy in both.

Read about the subjective, open and intiutive first book choice from the Design section of our library. Wonder about the tags connected to those accounts. Follow the continuing story as a second book is selected based on those tags created. Witness the third posting in which those sets of tags lead us from Design to Art. A move that forces us to reflect upon the connection between them both.

Follow the continuing accounts of the three succeeding investigating postings by clicking on the yellow link. Experience the total list of tags created during this “Subjective Library” Project.


3289 days, A4, cover, funky colors, television, unatractive, film photography : fauna, flora, interesting, lines, strange, fluffy, simple, horrible, brainwork, complicated, proud, “to know” : disorder, game, grid, systematization, “One Minute Sculpture” : library, swindler, breaking news, library loser, extraordinary, talented : space, absence-presence, framework, surrounding, returning : abnormal, rediscover, choice, plain, others : 1000, 754., direction, signs, city, direction, traffic, political, posters : blue Pinocchio, screaming, spine of book, blue, Pinocchio, blue fairy, eyecandy, contemporary, folk, mentality : not getting there, unknown, judging by covers, content, connection, strangers, subject : supermarket, theft, housewife, tiny, midlife crisis, multilingual : logic, question, reason, consciousness, interest, remarks, impossible, mathematical, perspective : attraction, strange, swissfolk, art, death, life, love, Maurizio Cattelan : cover, old book, unique, obsession, miniature : Anita, eyes, portrait, dominant, name, color, film : Wiener Werkstätte, characteristic, hand work, mass fabrication, original, process, realization, detail, photography, the nude : cheap fashion, funny, random, tattoo, tribe, weird, mysterious, tribe : attraction, new texture, action, quick, warning, a priori, new, amusement, choices, eye-catching, eyes, random : escape reality, library, overflow of impulses, fruitless reality, jostling time, absorbing force, déjà-vu : arrange, industrial, library, architecture, museum, self-made, Andreas Gursky, index : city, nomadic, reality, funky, colors, interiors : contrast, fat, texture, typography, culture, nudity : conceptional, distance, no image, steps, thinking space, braille : cat, compulsive, font, chaos, subjective, illustration, objective, random, Tadao Ando : airplane, airport, choice, structure, worldmap, 756, 80′s, human, machines, unique, flying : dot, jewelry, shapes & forms, yellow, children, fun, paint, playful, all colors, blue, green, theory : extraordinary, life, normal, objects, absurd : 80′s, desire, fashion, party, techno, desire, fabrics, orgasmatic : alchemy, identical, methaphysics, mysticism, mythology, Arabic, identical, inaccurate, ladies, naked, orient, sculptures, stereotypes : Canada, Indian symbols, kitsch, raven, Indian art, Mexico, Jeff Koons, porn : attraction, gold, meeting an old lover, recognition, cheap, irresistibility, not psychology, wrong, beauty, compare, contrast, couple, same, similarity, together, two books, ugliness : connection, embroidery, hundred years, death, funerals, general terms, invisible, object, spirit, visible : color, feeling, personal story, feminism, graphic : first sight, mystery, old-fashioned, bloody, mad, rituals, revelatory, Yin : oblivion, automatic lives, bottom shelve, eat, mantra, story-making, colorful, dogs, double-take, eat sleep, vases, vegetables : attracted, nothing, black, disturbing.

still curious read the books involved at the Gerrit Rietveld Library, (catalogue numbers are included).

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