Agnes Arellano Sculptor

Myths Of Creation And Destruction Part II: The Temple Of The Sun God



I am engaged in a search. You might almost call it a need. I am seeking answers to certain metaphysical questions, which present themselves in the form of paradoxes, and concern the problem of 'existence' or the juxtaposition of, but essential interdependence between, Creation and Destruction.

I look for clues in myth, history, and folklore, these are the fabric of my work, and tend to give it a strong narrative element. However, we are not just talking here of fairy tales. The material has to plumb the psychological depths.

I compare my research sources to a pail of dirty water. I stir up the sediment, and hypotheses emerge. Then, I strive to transform this metaphysical matter, which in reality remains a bundle of questions and notions rather than answers, into something which has as tangible a physical form as sculpture.

My work is satori-cal. This may sound intuitive and loose, but one should not forget that Zen Buddhism has a lot of discipline. Zen has deeply affected my work, and its influence can be most clearly seen in my floor pieces and sound sculptures. I am not an intellectual. Books alone could never hold me down. So, there is a need for another anchor, and that is sculpture.

When you dig, you go beyond words, or even concepts. The deeper you go, the harder it is to explain verbally. It was difficult for me to grasp this, as I was educated in the Western tradition, and ironically had to be brought back to my roots by Wittgenstein and Watts. Then, I became a sculptor, and found the medium for the expression of my continued search.

I specifically choose methods and materials for my sculpture which require a high degree of spontaneity. Thus, most of the major works in my 'inscapes' have been at least partially created through direct modelling with plaster, even though they were later recast into other materials, such as synthetic marble. The direct modelling method forces me to stop thinking any further about subjects which I have researched for several months, thus allowing the visual and tactile medium of sculpture to fully take over my energies.

I began this present work or 'inscape' wondering how Destruction could be beautiful. Essentially, it cannot, and my works are not 'pretty.' However, there is a parallel between the blinding light of sexual ecstasy and the nuclear bomb. It is for this reason that the central work of the inscape is the two-sided shrine entitled A Tender Moment: The Detonation Of The Bomb.

My starting point was the Temple of Konarak of Orissa, which was built to celebrate victory in war, but whose fame is based on its erotic sculptures. I thought that Making War and Making Love were opposites, and grew up as part of the "Make Love Not War" generation. However, the paradox comes together in an explosion! This applies in its own way to each of "Le Petit Mort" of coitus, the ego death of the entheogenic mushroom, and the blasting to smithereens or almost biblical destruction of the nuclear bomb. All of these 'deaths' lead to Chaos, whether it be through the dissolution of sexuality in the sexual act, the displacement of the personality associated with the ingestion of certain types of mushroom, or the fusion of the nuclear storm. Each carries with it a blinding light, and the purification of the mind or the body through a spiritual or physical experience.

The film Hiroshima Mon Amour described the nuclear blast as "the light of the thousand suns" and superimposed the beauty of sex on the deformity and decay of nuclear fallout. Significantly, the woman says to the man: "You are good for me. You destroy me." Thus, I speculate on the ways in which Tantra and Nuclear Physics are linked, and wonder whether all forms of 'Destruction' enable us to see God, and reconnect us with the Source.

The central omnipresent personality in my Temple is Shiva, (although it could as easily have been Dionysus,) the original God of Nature. Shiva is "The Lord Of Destruction," but also "The Lord Who Ends Destruction." Thus, the 'existence' paradox is answered, as the Subject and Object become the same. The Nuclear Bomb is the most emphatic symbol of the end of the cosmic cycle. However, its use would also herald the start of a new cosmic cycle. Shiva as nuclear God dominates my Temple, but I still ask myself whether I will see God when I die, and, if so, whether this would be more than a glimpse of Shiva's third eye. For me, this is still an open question.