by Johann Carlo
My subject (which seized me, I confess, like a fever dream) involves the symbolic representation of what one might call “lost languages” … languages, that is, which for cultural, historical, or other reasons, have fallen into disuse.
One of these, the starkly beautiful Native American Pictograph Language, inspired me to create a series of paintings which might be said to re-interpret, or even reanimate, a language that has essentially been lost to the world.
This series, presented with an accompanying text, is comprised of oil pastels which correspond to (but remain stylistically independent of) the pictographs upon which they are based. Aesthetic and functional aspects are thus combined in equal measure, so that the paintings … beautiful, I hope, in themselves … will, when in light of the original native symbols that inspired them, become even more meaningful. Hence, the paintings reawaken interest in the language, which in turn lends a deeper dimension to the paintings … and so on and so forth.
Symbols are the picture forms of inner thought; they are the doors leading to the hidden chambers of the mind. Despite geographical distance and cultural differences, primitive man used the symbolic pictograph to convey important information about human survival of future generations. Ancient wise men of many races used similar systems in an attempt to pass on what they’d discovered about the human soul. Despite the evolution of literate society, the language of the unconscious is, as it always has been, visual, as is the language of dreams. It was Carl Jung who first declared symbolism to be that common language, and introduced the concept that all that a person has ever experienced, or known is stored in the unconscious, and that a person’s psychic sense, responding to his unconscious, may also be able to contact information beyond that which he has stored himself – information that is shared by the collective unconscious. It is no coincidence that cultures all over the world share many of the same symbols in the ancient pictography of their region. Were modern man able to get back in touch with his prehistoric ability to communicate in non-linear, non-verbal form, who knows what long suppressed sense, what ancient ability or knowledge, might be reawakened?
Here is Thrown Voices in its entirety.
Thrown Voices is currently available on DVD.
If you would like to see Thrown Voices in this format, please email me for more information.