'Myth' can be used in two meanings: myth as a way of speaking, inherent in the most ancient, primeval periods of human history – in which case, as a rule, it is about the mythologies of the peoples of the world – and myth as something invented, unreal or artificial. In this text we will use the word in its second meaning, but with one stipulation: myth does not relate to the natural world, it is extra-biological as well as extra-social. It belongs to the sphere of secrecy, to the unknown, existing in those 'muscular' substances of existence, where the undecipherable scalpel of human intellect does not reach. As such, all ancient rituals connected with this level had the character of initiation and of a relation to higher beings . . ..



Artistic practice is often compared to myth-creation, to the world of dreams, and the artist to myth-creator, to daydreamer. When they say that an artist creates their world on canvas, what is meant is that they make up a personal philosophy and compose the myth of their life. And having invented a certain saturated mythological space, the artist then discreetly moves into it, psychologically becoming one with the works created by their universe. They can live as among the demons and wonders of their imagination and dreams, - in the case of Rasim Babayev in his late stage of creation – as among angels or heavenly birds. This means that the world of dreams created by them in reality, subject to another metaphorical logic and functioning according to its own rules and laws, from a specific moment starts to have a return influence on the artist themself, changing their mind and deconstructing their psychosomatics. In the existential dimension of artistic existence, the border between dream and reality fades away. Basic physical existence, 'given to us through feelings', appears only as yet one more virtual invariant of a certain global and principally undefined Reality. In conclusion, an artist creates a work to the extent in which the work and the act of creation, as one, creates the artist and changes their whole life and fate. We can go further: the ultimate aim of artistic creation is not the creation of new forms of art (or forms within art), but the transformation of the very artist-creator, the birth of a unique creative form of their living presence in this world. The obvious conformity of the aims of artistic creation and alchemy, in which, as is known, the ultimate aim is not to transmute unwanted metals into gold by means of a philosopher's stone, but the transformation of the very alchemist-actor of mysterious creation and their achievement of higher spiritual conditions.


By means of (myth-)creation an artist is destined to turn themself and their life into the production of art and, through this... to gather up themself. Thus the reason of myth-creation is far from a trivial word in relation to the work of an artist, and is the core element of the very creative act, through which the artist does nothing but observe themself and gather up the pieces of their own soul into something whole... What does it mean? Why do they have to gather up 'something'? To answer this, let us turn to the myth of the creation of the world, in which some parallels of the human archetype are drawn, taken in the dynamic of its disclosure in the time and space of fate and history.


According to Indo-European cosmological myths this (fallen) world appeared as a result of splitting the body of a deity, whose name varies in different cultures from Osiris and Purusha to Dionysus and Adam Kadmon, among others. In the mysterious and rather unspecific time of It (the time of the first principle) this deity was sacrificed and this world appeared from the parts of its body. This myth has a trans-psychological meaning for every person and is directly connected to the dramaturgy of its origin, with the final goal of self-collection, of finding one's integrity and, therefore, the revival of the spirit, which reflects the condition of initiation, of rebirth. 


The logic of a 'smart' destiny of a human being is as follows: a person comes into this world in a 'torn apart' condition and has to put themself back together. Let us say that a human being is never born as a person with a complete (read: perfect) soul composition. They are always born as a raw material, a half-ready product: as an animal (human-as-animal), blindly subordinated by biological laws. But because they are thrown not into the pristine natural world, but to the already existing human society (or to be less politically correct – into a humanlike herd), they are immediately 'stuffed' with the whole sum of socio-cultural programs – not having enough time to live as a nature animal, they immediately turn into a social animal, the intellectual and ethical status of which is no less problematic as of an animal in the jungle, or at least it is a little bit 'covered up'.  


It is clear that this creature is far from the real human level. This is exactly because these 'incomplete', not-pulled-together humans fill this imperfect world, the imperfection of which is caused by the existence of these people (a vicious circle?). When I speak about the natural type of human-as-animal, I do not intend to humiliate or outrage men at all – here I speak only about the ontological levels and the status of a human animal is only a necessary starting point from which a human can, – if they are lucky – overcome their dependence on external factors and biological and social programs and become a free human, so as to reconstruct themselves from the fragments of their torn soul. To make it clear, let us look at the following example. 


It is difficult not to agree with the thought that most of us know about the obvious and undeniable positive nature of such qualities as kindness, honor, love, conscience, loyalty, sacrifice…  At the same time, this world is ruled by evil, bloodshed, injustice, hostility, lies, treason... What is the reason for this? The reason is that the qualities of the first level refer to human values, which means to the ideal spiritual level, on which a 'half-made human' is supposed to be born (to be reborn, to relive, to recreate) having completed a certain 'myth-poetical' self-work of their consciousness, mind and even body. And only then, after these 'initiative procedures' of transformation, all of these higher values will stop being empty 'theoretical' sound and will turn into a living, operative ethical 'matter' that they will implement naturally, without any effort, as something granted, as coming from their transformed human nature. But not like before!


Artistic creativity in the modern world, despite the weight of amateur layering and distancing from traditional, authentically initiative practices, is exactly one of the technologies of the birth of humanity in humans (sometimes they speak about super-human evaluation of personality, but in fact it is the same – transpersonal evaluation/measurement). Artistic products, like stages of art and art itself, are in general some kind of mental mechanisms, spiritual machines of a possible transmutation of the energy of artist into something bigger than they are in their natural format. Through personal mythmaking an artist makes choices of self-transcendence. Building its own system of images, they apply a maximum of existential trans-efforts – art is not a sugar – which can potentially overcome the gravity of this 'creature' world and get rid of the power of physical laws. 


In the frame of the project  e·phem·er·a  curator Samira Sefi shows the works of Azerbaijani artists who, from her point of view, best show the connection of the mythmaking mechanism with a no less complicated nature of the creative process. But it is important to emphasize one more time – what is said in this text about the connection between mythological phenomena and the nature of art is fair for the art of any artist in the broadest meaning of the word...


© Teymur Daimi


20 Dec 14