٠ ‘The Journal of a Madman’ – the artistry of an artist’s book ٠

Chapter 15Anthony Mannix, 1989. Journal of a madman, Nr. 7 page 2.

What follows is an excerpt of an article by Gareth Jenkins, published in the very first issue of ‘Elsewhere – The International Journal of Self-Taught and Outsider Art‘, featuring the work of Anthony Mannix and focusing on the notions of the erotic in his drawings.

ELSEWHERE_Journal_Issue_1_August_2013_1_Page_4Anthony Mannix, 1988. Journal of a madman, Nr. 4 page 6.

“Anthony Mannix (b. 1953) is one of Australia’s best known Outsider Artists. Since the early 1980s he has created paintings, drawings, sculptures, sound recordings, artist’s books and an eclectic range of Outsider writing. Centrally his work is shaped and fuelled by his repeated experience of psychotic episodes2; a state that he believes affords him access to the ‘places’ of his unconscious. Mannix’s psychotic episodes are often highly erotic in nature and the unconscious landscapes he explores are dominated by occult erotic happenings and images.

This article focuses primarily on works within his artist’s books, discussing the manner in which they express textually and pictorially the artist’s notions of the erotic.

For Mannix, erotic physicality, particularly during psychosis, is a conduit to mystical states of unconscious eroticism. In such a formulation metaphorical erotic states materialise for him, becoming places and landscapes through which he can travel. It is within these lived metaphorical landscapes (lived-metaphors)3 that Mannix feels able to access shamanic, alchemical and occult powers:

Its a strange game Romance – you play and gamble with gold coin of the most valu able kind, and of magical nature. Its that love-making will eventually change and become the wildest shaminism. The erotic is the place where things are done. If there is any such thing as alchemy then it lies here. Some places defy also description. I remember having the door to my room kicked in with an untoward violence; eroticism is like this with one thing, amidst the brokenness is an aura of pleasure that is solid and when one notices further a beast of every other colour made up of every other beast stands at the threshold with mercurial and sulphuresent eyes. The room SEEMS to be exploding with ignited phosphorus.

ELSEWHERE_Journal_Issue_1_August_2013_1_Page_2Anthony Mannix, 1991. Journal of a madman, page 7.

ELSEWHERE_Journal_Issue_1_August_2013_1_Page_3Anthony Mannix, 1995-96. Journal of a madman, page 48.

In Mannix’s worldview, eroticism offers power, but it is also a powerful autonomous force in its own right. For him, it conflates pleasure, violence and violation in an act that moves beyond the rational into an alchemical zone of unconscious construction. He describes this act of creating places in the unconscious as “the art of schizophrenia”, or “mental sculpture”, thus linking the practice to artistic creation.

Extending the analogy with art-making Mannix describes the unconscious as a medium with which to build, possessing its own inherent challenges, as would the artistic media of wood, oil paint or bronze. He writes:

Since 1989 i have been in a fanatical study of chaos. sexuality and the esoteric so much so that i colonised part of the unconscious and built there. it is a strange medium to work in this unconscious
for changes there mean remarkable change and alteration in your day to day conscious your action and ultimately your being.

ELSEWHERE_Journal_Issue_1_August_2013Anthony Mannix, 1998. Journal of a madman, Nr. 4, page 8.

ELSEWHERE_Journal_Issue_1_August_2013_1_Page_1Anthony Mannix, 1996. Journal of a madman, page 10.

The building that occurs within the unconscious also affects consciousness and the experience of daily life; so too the art-making conducted by Mannix can be harnessed to generate change within the psychic realm – the physical and mental becoming synonymous in lived-metaphor. The practice of Mannix’s art, then, both documents and constructs the erotic landscapes of the unconscious through which he travels. The central link between documentary art making, the erotic and the unconscious is made explicit in the following: “After almost twenty years of exploring the Unconscious and ten documenting it in what is currently known as Art Brut, i have come to the conclusion that we live an erotic life in our unconscious”. Mannix channels the energies of the body’s eroticism into his artwork, in part, to actually access and construct those erotic realms of the unconscious that he is simultaneously exploring. In this way the erotic energy of the body impacts on the material of his craft to facilitate the birth of a libidinal lived-metaphor that the artist comes to inhabit.”

pages 40 to 65. continue reading here

┐ Mary Stark – Searching for Celluloid └

Abandoned, discarded, unwanted film is woven into handmade artefacts and photographic prints are created in the darkroom from constructed negatives. Time becomes an integral element, with each print or object measuring a duration of film. This recent work explores the materiality of photography and film in the digital age and creates a dialogue between the still frame and the moving image.

Mary Stark is searching for celluloid. It’s an exploration that, paradoxically, began in the digital space.

“I was interested in working digitally with video,” says Stark, who recently completed an MA in Photography at MMU. “Then I realised that, of course, all this digital film has a physical ancestor. It’s like a piece of thread.”

The thread analogy is important. Stark’s BA, also at MMU (she graduated in 2006) was in Embroidery. She has combined both the material physicality of film and the action of weaving for her Cornerhouse Micro Commissions project, Searching For Celluloid. “The idea is to develop film as a material,” she explains, “to turn a whole feature film into a physical object.”

The interface between analogue and digital is providing increasingly intriguing creative possibilities, and particularly interesting in Stark’s case is the fluid relationship between the two – there is no sense of either/or, no digital/analogue divide.

“I’m using digital tools to help me design the patterns I’m creating with the celluloid,” says Stark. “I’m interested in the dialogue between stitch and film, both digital and analogue.”

It’s an interest that has also led Stark to explore a process of ‘weaving’ digital film footage together (see Vimeo video, above). A celluloid film is projected, captured digitally on video and then woven together using Final Cut Pro: “It’s quite experimental at this stage,” she says. source: digital innovation

more of Mary’s work here and her blog with all info about this project here

┐ AUTOMATISM as direct action └

© Bryan Lewis Saunders, under the influence of butane honey oil (left) and morphine IV (right)

© Bryan Lewis Saunders, under the influence of 1/2g cocaine (left) and 1 “bump” of crystalmeth (right)

“After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.”

More of these portraits can be seen here and Bryan Saunders website here

“Automatism, by allowing for the free flow of the uninhibited imagination, is at the heart of the surrealist project. Automatic writing or drawing practices need not submit to any mannered stylistic interference or be forced to bow down before confining aesthetic considerations. Though popular conceptions of surrealism tend to focus on such clichéd and easily imitated tropes as Dali’s melted clocks, the surrealist embrace of automatism seeks to unleash the radical imagination revealing knowledge and inspiring possibilities located outside of the narrow boundaries of reality. Eschewing any particular form of aesthetic expression, and rejecting the certainty of authority in favor of the surprise of a chance encounter with the Marvelous, surrealism is experimental in nature rather than didactic.

In rejecting the impoverished version of reality that we are expected to embrace, surrealism is sometimes unfairly accused of being escapist. Rather, instead of accepting an artificial dichotomy between dream and reality, in André Breton’s conception, the two can be seen as “communicating vessels” which can be reconciled in action. In this transformative sense, surrealism cannot simplistically be reduced to one of the passing cavalcade of avant-garde art movements in painting, literature, film or sound. The latter mediums of expression are merely expedient points of entry in the surrealist quest to create a more exalted reality by realizing poetry in everyday life.

What then is the nature of the passional attraction between surrealism and the anarchist notion of direct action. If a radical subjectivity is needed to overcome the miserabilist stranglehold of mutual acquiescence, then the revolutionary romanticism of surrealism can be a fecund basis for mutual aid. From the very start, the surrealist movement, in word and in deed, has allied itself with the struggle for freedom. Embracing what I will refer to as a “radical inclusivity,” surrealism has not confined itself to the art world but has repeatedly sought out kindred free spirits from among those that the dominant society dismisses or condescendingly labels as “other”. Rather than perceiving oppressed peoples exclusively as victims, surrealists have seen as mentors and accomplices all those who desire to, or who in effect, actively sabotage the absolutism of the reigning reality of industrial civilization with the poetic truth of the dream. In this struggle, the affinity between surrealism and direct action is a combination of radical refusal and emancipatory exhilaration.”

excerpt from “The Surrealist Adventure and the Poetry of Direct Action”, by Ron Sakolsky, in The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, Issue 8, Winter 2011. Continue reading here

┐ Anarchy–Without–Anarchism └

© David Lynch, Boy Lights Fire

© David Lynch, Pete Goes To This Girlfriend’s House

[1] WE declare war on God and the State, the alpha and omega of philosophy and the world, in the name of anarchy-without-anarchism. We are radically antinomian – abandoning the law in all its forms, including that of its withdrawal – this is what makes us anarchist. To be anarchist is to reject anarchism as the miserable discourse of “radical opposition.” All that it offers is another wisdom, and we know that wisdom always conceals a master. The anti-politics of anarchy-without anarchism does not exist but insists in the recurrence of an absolute rupture with the world and its law – the anarchist invariant – at Alamut, at Münster, and all the other unknown and unnamed places of its emergence.


[3] The world is always disciplined and organized, minimally in its very regime of appearance, its imaginary configuration. This is then reproduced at every level by operations of power, and the monotony of power it always offers us the same world: hierarchical, ordered, segmented, regimented, and lawful (even if that law is only the law of value). We will not be disciplined or organized.


[5] Of course we know full well that the philosophers and politicians, if we can tell them apart, will judge anarchy-without-anarchism as spontaneist, voluntarist, ultra-leftist, infantile, or just merely gestural. Their judgements only serve to confirm that it cannot be recognized under the law of discourse, which is to say the law of the semblant. We do not fear the predictable diagnoses of the psychoanalysts either, who will find our rebellion to be paranoid, delusional, or Oedipal. They never understood Schreber’s rebellion: his choice to become a whore of God rather than a representative of the law.
For these police of the spirit the spectre of anarchy, in its truly antinomian form, evokes disaster: fundamentalism, terrorism, frenzied mysticism. But these are merely the ideological modes of antinomian anarchy, or the appearance imposed on it by power. We prefer to have faith in total revolt without fear of “totalitarianism.”
All that power can imagine is an apocalypse that purges the world of the people, but never of power itself. Our “apocalypse” is the invariant of subtraction from the world and from power. We are not asking to be authorized by philosophy or any other discourse, and if we take up the concepts of philosophy, politics, and psychoanalysis it is only to use as weapons against them. Our indifference to the world will not succumb to the temptation of discourse.


by Benjamin Noys, originally published as Editorial 11, Sans-philosophie.net (2006). To read full text go here

┐ Wladd Muta └

© Wladd Muta, Hypercops 1 On Mountains, 2011

© Wladd Muta

Les pétales des fleurs de grenouilles, “AnUra-Flora“,
se développent dans un tout premier temps
à partir des tissus pulmonaires du batracien (fig.1.).
L’amorce de la mutation utilise
les traces génétiques fantômes
des branchies du stade larvaire (têtards).
Le pétale se constitue ensuite
exclusivement sur une base
de tissu épithélial humide (muqueuse) respiratoire.
L’étalement des tissus s’accompagne,
progressivement et en s’amplifiant,
d’une hybridation du tramage cellulaire
Même une fois aboutie, l‘AnUra-Flora
gardera toujours
cette singularité cellulaire hybride.
La fleur se déploie tout autour d’un cœur ;
celle-ci n’a pas de tige.

I met Wladd’s work about 4 or 5 years ago when it was a hybrid of photography, design and digital technology. He now seams to be working in his own unique realm of arguments given the ideology and research behind his works.

Some of Wladd’s work here

┐ Michal Heiman └


Michal Heiman chose the position of the spectator looking at someone else’s photographs taken by someone else, in which someone else is photographed, which someone else collected. Heiman turns this quintessential position of spectator (in a museum, but not only) into her own, elaboration and giving it back to it to spectator, whom she transforms not only into the subject of the artistic image but also into the subject of the psychological image. This is the spectator who is asked, on several levels, to assume Heiman’s position and to reproduce it. When Heiman looks at these photographs of her mother-in-law, she is following classifications which are latent in the family album, acting within the framework of the restrictions and advantages of her family relations with the photographed (her mother-in-law), attuned to the route she traced on her meticulously planned journeys as well as in random rambles. Though Heiman does this without relinquishing essential activities of the subject’s position, such as sorting, selecting, classifying, etc, she performs these activities as an accumulative sum of activities familiar from two institutions and practices – the musial and the psychological. The images she presents to the “subject” of her “test” are mediated through these two institution/ practices. They are presented in a “test” box by an “examiner”, who also duplicates Heiman’s positioning, obviously without the possibility of identity between the two of them, between them and the photographed, or between them and the “subject” of the “test”. These relations of similarity and difference between the personae/ positions dissolve the established hierarchical relations which institutions/ practices such as the museum and the psychology apparatus seek to preserve, and point to their fluidity. Heiman is attracted to these two systems, seduced by one and functioning within the other, but at the same time she criticizes them, especially by turning one against the other. She bypasses the museal apparatus by way of the psychological apparatus. Within the framework f the museum institution she develops exchange relations borrowed from the psychological apparatus, rather than those practiced in the museum I which the boundaries of the subject are predetermined by the way he or she is placed in front of the artistic object. The relations of replacement that Heiman proposes are those existing in the psychoanalytical situation, with one crucial difference: they are not continuous in time, and the analyst cannot gain knowledge relating to the analysand and take an active part in subjectivizing her. Thus the therapeutic situation is divested of its characteristic power relations. The activating of the general patterns of the structure of the therapeutic situation in a museum setting through the “test” mode of the M.H.T., provides an opportunity to disrupt the museum order. This order is based on complex relations of silence, both on the part of the museum object and on the part of the museum subject, and on the distinction between the different subject of art – -the artist and the spectator. The museum spectator is invited to induce the mute object to speak, but only later, and outside the boundaries of the site. Heiman’s spectator is invited to induce the scene to speak at the site itself. The existence of the images Heiman offers for viewing and voicing violates the standard norms of presentation, and serves as a point of departure for unexpected encounters with conveyor of parallel, contradictory, other images, encounters in which she finds herself being led no less than leading.

Michal Heiman’s “test” is intended for women. It suggests that they look at a number of pictures of a woman-a mother figure and her own mother-in-law – and a few pictures of women who were inscribed in a history which is not only theirs. The first photographed figure is like a magnified stereotype of the (Jewish) mother figure. She is more (and less) than a citizen of the (Jewish) state. She doesn’t tour like a tourist, looking rather like the proprietress who comes to collect the rent or to be nice to the tenants and improve their conditions of living. She embodies much of what is repressed in that State, and precisely the close relationship to her presents an opportunity to take a straight look and see how it “really” looks. How the overbearingness, excessiveness, and unusefulness of this figure looks. She has herself photographed incessantly, in any place, on any occasion. She is always ready with the camera “just in case”- this may be the decisive moment, so she had better have proofs, evidence, in her hands. For one mustn’t let destiny rule the world alone. Together with her, in the same box, there are seven other women. These are women whose “decisive moment” indeed caught up with them. Each of them experienced a “crucial” moment, performed an act, and this actually justified a portrait, an image, an immortalization, but there was no camera to immortalize the moment. The portrait that they bequeathed is thus a portrait which does not bear witness to the incisive moment but keeps manifesting the decisive relation between them and the social order they disturbed and whose rules they sought to suspend. It thus constitutes a double portrait- a portrait of them and of the social order they challenged. The first one is of the three (surviving) quintuplets the Dionne sister, who having been put on public display as children together with their two other sisters, eventually broke the silence to bring this glaring abuse of a child’s body to light (and to claim damages for themselves). The second is of Ulrike Meinhof, leader of the Baader Meinhof group, from whose portrait it is always possible to revert to the boundaries of the rules of the game of the democratic state, a game in which everything is negotiable, except the rules of the game and so allowing the exclusion o any player attempting to put those rules I question. The third photograph is of Leila Khaled, the Palestinian freedom fighter who became famous for skyjacking in which she was involved. Khaled expropriated the time of the flight passengers to point to the time and the place of which her people, the Palestinian people, had been robbed. The fourth portrait, of Eva Hesse, an artist who put her body in the center of her art long before the artistic discourse could have contained such a manifestation, evidenced an apparatus saturated with violence and the tensions between an individual, a body, and a position from which to see, speak out, and act, and the last portrait, of Kochava Levy, who found herself in a hotel that was occupied by terrorists, and masterfully played – with her unprecedented feat of conducting negotiations with the terrorists – the role assigned to her by history.

(Dr. Ariella Azoulay, D’Israel: Barry Frydlender, Michal Heiman, Efrat Shvily, and Dana & Boaz Zonshine, Le Qartier, Center of Contemporary Art, Quimper, 1999 [pp. 33-34] )

More of Michal’s work here

┐ Victoria Jenkins └

© Victoria Jenkins, Capnomancy, from Images from the Institute of Esoteric Research

© Victoria Jenkins, Aeromancy, from Images from the Institute of Esoteric Research

“A characteristic claimed to be unique of photography has been its ability to record the visible, material world, its perceived objectivity and accuracy has lead to a utilitarian application of the camera as a tool for documentation, and this can be traced back to photography’s early history. Parallel to this is a history that echoes with illusion and trickery; photography carries a false empiricism, for which we may allow our guard to be dropped.

The photographs presented here are rooted in the language of rational investigation, employing quasi-scientific laboratory style conditions in to which a series of still lives, fictional archival images, are constructed. A commingling of varied sources occurs: vernacular imagery of magic tricks, home science experiments, divination practice, superstitious belief and forensic investigation. The intent is to play on the conflicts in the languages that are being appropriated: logic and absurdity, revelation and trickery, illustration and illusion, but also that which seems concurrent despite the apparent polarities: the image whose authority is asserted through a shrouding in secret language and gesture.

This collision and coinciding intends to produce a series riddled with ambiguities, the oblique amongst clarity providing a slippery surface on which to form the photographs narratives.”

More of Victoria’s world here

┐ Nicky Coutts └

© Nicky Coutts, Estates(Syon), 2007

© Nicky Coutts, Estates(Longleat), 2007

“The photograph Estates was based on 17th century drawings and paintings of stately homes originally commissioned to show them to their most opulent advantage. Each original is manipulated to look like a tower by copying and repeating the floors and placing them one above the other.”

source: Danielle Arnaud

more of Nicky’s work here

┐ Zoe Hatziyannaki └

© Zoe Hatziyannaki, The Parliament, from the series Secrets & Crises, 2010-20111

© Zoe Hatziyannaki, Police Headquarters, from the series Secrets & Crises, 2010-20111

“The photographs on the left side of the diptychs portray public/State buildings in Athens, Greece. The images on the right are enlarged window details taken from the buildings’ photographs. The juxtapositions of the two images seek to suggest the questionable role of the State and its institutions today in Greece. A role which is seriously disputed under the current crisis.
Public buildings stand as symbols of this crisis: they attract the rage of the protesters, they are being portrayed in photos of crisis related news etc. However, significations of public buildings vary depending on different periods in history, for example, in the past, some of the buildings depicted in the photographs used to stand for solidarity or prosperity. Therefore in this series my aim was that the depiction of the buildings would offer an as much as possible detached and a-historical view. Yet the blown-up, poor quality images of the windows on the right play a disturbing role. They are in a way scrutinizing the rather ‘innocent’ image of the building on the left, in order to find evidence of what or who is to blame. Hinting that the lives of those buildings are not so organized and tidy after all, that they have secrets and obscure operations, which even though more or less everybody share, there is always a vagueness about them, responsible for generating feelings of suspicion, resentment and fear, all of which are met at present in Greece.”

More of Zoe’s work here

┐ Duncan Caratacus └

© Duncan Caratacus, Construction I, 2009

… material collection, a very dense and very important archive that seems to be the result of an in-depth research, mainly UK focused. To see the archive and download either follow the curator ship’s link or view under research in Duncan’s website. via The Curator Ship