Dirk Bell - Powerful exhibition plays with imagery of magick and mysticism (4 stars)

Dirk Bell - Powerful exhibition plays with imagery of magick and mysticism

Works invoke old-fashioned ideas of belief systems, ritual, myth and healing

There is something otherworldly about the energy that Dirk Bell has conjured up in this space: a droning sound reverberates, the inorganic steel structures are sanded down to a holographic shine, and devoid of human presence, technology will sustain this scene as long as it is fed by electricity.

Landed in the middle of the space is ‘Merkaba’, two equally sized tetrahedra made of steel bars and illuminated by neon tubes of white light. The mythology of the Merkaba is extensive – as a three-dimensional Star of David in Jewish mysticism, requiring activation in Ascension Magick to strengthen a vehicle of light around the human body so that its saucer shaped field can carry one’s consciousness directly to higher dimensions.

Thick black extension cords feed the heart of the star and the audience appears to have some control over the mechanisms that support its life through a snare drum and computer. The works on show invoke old-fashioned ideas of belief systems, ritual, myth and healing through emotive constructions such as ‘Freelove’ for the New Aeon. It is an exposition of symbolic constructions where meaning can only exist when we look at them in the flesh.

A similar sense of ritual can be found in ‘Phedra’ – its burnt door, motionless red pendulum, ceramic bowl with melted candles and drawing of Renaissance-style human body alluding to the Vitruvian man as he is presented within the spinning vehicle of Merkabic light. A powerful exhibition that encourages a dusting off of those forgotten magick books.

The Modern Institute, Glasgow, until Sat 19 Feb

Dirk Bell

  • 4 stars

Following on from his Made in Germany exhibition of last year, the Berlin-based artist presents 'Merkaba,' a large scale sculpture installation along with other sculptures, drawings and paintings exploring the role of iconography and technology in our lives.

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