Amy Hilton: Subtle Energy
Spazio Nobile presents, Subtle Energy, a solo show by Paris-based artist, Amy Hilton. The exhibition opens on September 8th, along with Brussels Gallery Weekend, and runs through November 6, 2022.
I looked for the moon within me, I came to worship You. Here and there I found Narayana, I found Him in the fabric of everything. Why does He take all these forms?
– Lalla “Mystical Songs of Kashmiri Tantrism”
Everything in the universe, from the subdivisions of physical matter to higher worlds, co-exists and retains a connection. This notion of ‘connection’, along with those of totality and fragmentation is precisely what Amy Hilton addresses through her artistic practice and research.
Subtle Energy extends Hilton’s fascination with esoteric ideologies and the belief that human life simultaneously subsists in two parallel dimensions: the ‘physical body’ and the psychological, emotional, spiritual, mindful, non-physical ‘subtle body’. Through these two entities, we are confronted by higher planes of existence: subtle, etheric, astral. At the core is her quest to achieve a deeper understanding of unity, of the layers of metaphysical meaning that shape our existence. In this exhibition, featuring stone and glass sculptures and drawings in ink, crayon and dry pastel, the spectator is invited to move through the invisible to the visible, from the spirit to the form and vice versa.
Hilton’s investigations of these higher realms go further to explore inner illumination through the chakras — a Sanskrit term signifying a ‘wheel’. From the Tantric period of yoga philosophy around 500 to 1000 CE, they are specific points of connection in which energy flows from one chakra to the other. Tantric spirituality is one of duality, linking heaven and earth, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, microcosm and macrocosm, mind and body in which the emphasis is placed on incorporating everything, completely, totally and consciously rather than rejecting any one aspect of reality in favour of another. In this way, the chakras epitomise the essential elements of our existence.
Representing a map for healing, a profound formula for wholeness and a template for transformation, the chakras describe the soul’s architecture, enabling the practitioner to channel the subtle energies of the soul. In her work, Hilton associates the chakras with the five cosmic elements— earth, water, fire, air, ether — ascending from bottom to top, encompassing a spectrum of creation from the physical earth to pure consciousness. During meditation, the visualisation of these five elements as graphic symbols enables stimulation of the inner vital energies and can be concentrated upon for psycho- cosmic integration.
Through an alignment of five geometric shapes, made of different stones such as sandstone, onyx, red travertine, white marble and rock crystal, the artist aims to eliminate the boundary between the material and spiritual. The sculptures exist as energy centres, strung invisibly together like jewels. Aligning from base to crown along the axis of a vertical core, they embody the energetic vitality of each chakra, each element, each different stone. Within each shape, this energy expands far beyond their geometry; they have a pulse, which, by aligning each one, acts as a stepping stone to the next, connecting heaven and earth. The last sculpture, representing ether, is the most transparent; when the crown chakra is achieved, it is aglow with the purest, crystal-clear clarity.
In the dry pastel drawings, harmonies of colour and energy permeate the paper. The artist pays particular attention to the colour scheme. In each work, the sensitive application of the pastel is purely symbolic, the colours referring to philosophical ideas and expressing varying states of consciousness and auras derived from the higher planes. Diagrams which reference the artist’s research on yantras (tantric symbols of cosmic unity), as well as her studies for the stone chakra sculptures will also be presented.
All works depict a personalised colour theory and a visual vocabulary inspired by esoteric tenants of Theosophy. Drawing specifically on Eastern thinking, they delve into translations of ancient Hindu texts, to the esoteric philosophy of H.P Blavatsky’s ‘The Secret Doctrine’, Anthroposophy (doctrines of Spiritual science by Rudolph Steiner) as well as Goethe’s ‘Theory of Colours’.
To realise is to ‘see’ with ‘real’ eyes, to see what is real, to see the energy behind the material representation. According to the artist, it is the manifestation of our visions into reality which completes our life purpose and takes higher consciousness into its full, outward expression to evolve the world around us. The chakra system incorporated within this exhibition serves a map for that process. An integrative system, it is one that can return us to wholeness once again.
Experience, embodiment, meditation and reflection assume pivotal roles in this new body of work where visual art acts upon the viewer and the space it occupies. The work informs us more deeply of Hilton’s perception of the world and her sensitivity to that which is both visible and invisible, both material and spiritual – underlying the sacred unity of self and cosmos.
“Subtle Energy” is on view at Spazio Nobile from September 9-November 6, 2022