MANIFESTO OF VISIONARY ART

continually its healing and centering power. It locates the beholder at the very centre of his existence, in the awareness of life as a gradual awakening to the Sacred.

DREAMS

      Perhaps the oldest sources of imagery - a vast, fascinating territory that, to this day, remains largely unexplored - is dreams. The Old Testament tells us how dreams, like 'Jacob's ladder', may offer a series of oneiric images, a 'ladder of vision' leading to the Absolute. Blake rendered this vision into form as a spiralling staircase, evolving and revolving into the highest heavens.
      From Classical times, such dreams were recognized and classified into their respective types: the visum or phantasma, constituting a normal night's dream; the insomnium or enypnion, offering instead nightmares and anxiety. Then came the more fascinating somnium or oneiros, "an enigmatic dream... that conceals with strange shapes and veils with ambiguity the true meaning of the information being offered, and requires an interpretation for its understanding." (67) Greater still came the visio or horama - a prophetic vision verified by subsequent events. And finally, at the highest level, appeared the oraculum or chrematismos, in which a sacred person, or even the Sacred itself, broke upon the dreamer in a momentary epiphany.
      As the visionary artist opens himself gradually to the presence of the Sacred in his life, his dreams too may reveal the increasing presence of the Numinous. We have already recounted how Fuchs, at a most difficult period in his life, saw in his dreams a colusses and, later, an angel. These were no normal dreams. As he recounts, "I dreamt in a way which I had never dreamt before: strong and colourful, glowing..."(68) And, in a fascinating



 
 
 


L. CARUANA

passage from Architectura Caelestis, he elaborates, "My encounters with the phantastic, with that world which the corporal eye rarely or never sees... had always taken place before on a different level: on... the painting or drawing surface, the plate on which images impressed themselves 'automatically' as in a state of trance... Never before had I dreamt so violently, never seen such a vision, had never before 'really', with 'open eyes' been transferred into this other world. For, I am sure of this, such a dream is not seen in sleep, the state of the dreamer is awake, a brightly awake one..." (69) These two dreams, like visio or oracula, were so evocative of the Sacred, that all other visionary experiences paled by comparison. And he testifies, "The power of these dreams, especially the second dream, surpassed by far anything which I had experienced under the influence of drugs." (70)



ERNST FUCHS: PSALM 69 (Detail)
ERNST FUCHS: PSALM 69 (Detail)


 
 
 


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