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Judy Varga

Vancouver, B.C.
(604) 570-0555
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by Judy Varga




(I planted gardens of fire/confederations of fire)

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This sculpture is the locus of a ritual passage, which is concerned with reconciling the polarity of the elements fire, air, earth, and water by presenting them in balanced proportions. An abandoned concrete foundation, nestled in a grove on a patch of light, provided the initial circumscribed ground plan upon which was placed a coiling stream of aluminum sheeting. Floating on this mirrored circuit is a series of candles planted in aluminum rings at regular intervals. A bed of finely textured sand lying parallel to the stream marks the passage for the procession to light the candles. The work is a cyclic and interwoven time—space metaphor: an instrument of transit, a “magnetic field” of light and energy, of ritual immersion, revealed primarily through the kinesthetic experience of body perception, empathy, action/reaction, and memory.

As the candles are being lit during the procession, they come to fruition, slowly progressing from a scintilla to a radiant field, which binds and dissolves at the edge of reflection. The ritual involves the performers walking through the open, maze—like configuration, lighting each candle consecutively, at a slow, even pace,. Branching off from the central aisle, the performers trace the periphery of the structure, approaching the center, and converging at the core. Having completed the lighting process, they retrace their path, unspiralling only to converge again at the aisle where the journey began.

In celebration of the process of alchemical transformation, as it is perceived by the body/mind, the rite of passage will be performed at twilight, the locus of transformation, (where earth and sky overlap and become grounded~ when solar light/ energy gives over to lunar light/energy). At that point, the body, acting as catalyst, reactivates the light/energy/action, which recede from the earth as the sun sets below the horizon and initiates them into the tangible realm.

The physical residue of the event, the record of the “tract”, now displaced and transformed, recalls the original frame of reference and calls for its regeneration. Through the shared enactment of this rite of passage, the event, place, and object manifest a common contextual pattern, one that extends through space and time. The sequence of the ritual (public or private) represents a perpetual balance, a cyclical process of forming and transforming through which we gain access to a world in which opposites are reconciled.

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* The title for this piece was excerpted from the poems “The petrifying petrified” & “San Ildefonso nocturne” by Octavio Paz.”

“MAS”, a synthesizer composition by John Watts, was played at twilight during the rite of passage. Watts, who has been called a “wizard of the ARP” for his pioneering use of synthesizers, intends MAS as a visionary quest, a search that is essentially spiritual in nature, reflecting the timelessness and diversity of life —— ever—changing yet ever the same, always evoking our mature unrest as well as our highest aspirations.”

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