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Damned by a constant push towards destruction, human desire can’t stop itself, and the Freudian death drive is today a “hyperhedonistic apology of enjoyment”, Massimo Recalcati notices, that can only be solved by “channeling this ruinous, eccentric drive, this potency to enjoy towards fruitful, creative directions.” The shaman is closely related to the artist in his way of seeing the world as a continuous tale that needs to be told. Like the artist in front of a white canvas, the shaman shapes the story of the cosmo as it reveals itself.  The psychedelic shaman is the antithesis of the egocentric man. His ways of being in the world don’t require language and overrun cultural limitations, as well as the ones including race, gender or class. The shaman acts in the imaginary register. He goes into the Real straight through the imaginary, where he encounters the Transcendent Other, who answers unspeakable questions. Alexandre Lebreton cites a shaman’s description by Igor Chamanovich when he says: “The medicine man is an ecstatic by excellence. Now, in primitive religions, ecstasy means the soul’s flight in the sky, or his wandering on earth, or at last its descent into the underground regions among the dead. The shaman undertakes these ecstatic journeys to meet face to face with the god of the sky and hand him an offer in the name of the community, to seek the soul of an ill man that has moved away from his body (…) The body’s abandonment during ecstasy equals a temporary death. The medicine man is therefore the man who is capable of “dying” and “resurrecting” for a considerable number of times”. The word ecstasy comes from the Greek “ekstasis” and it means: to stand outside of or transcend oneself. The artist shaman leaves his earthly body behind and, in a state of ecstasy, travels to other dimensions. In the same way, my painting is a temple where a pre-linguistic journey of mystical visions takes place. There, I can venture into an imaginary journey to recuperate fragments of lost souls. From outside, I can metaphorically invite the audience to surrender to the mystery of being. It is no accident hallucinogenic compounds were used in the magic potion drank by the initiates during the ‘Big Mysteries’ at Eleusis, a  sacred Greek ceremony taking place about two thousand years ago: psychedelic molecules have the ability to neurologically connect parts of our brain that are usually disconnected. The goal at Eleusis was to open people’s minds and put them in contact with something “unconfessable”, but at the same time extraordinary and pleasant; the guiding hierophant, or high priest, resembles the artist shaman, whose artwork is the result of those neurological connections which unveil, in Lacanian terms, the unspeakable truth of the real. The artist is the shaman. I am the artist. I am the shaman.

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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