Una Szeemann, 2012
When reading about the establisher of the Theosophical Society and writer of the Secret Doctrine, Helena Petrowna Blavatsky, I was intrigued by the connection of peculiar events she experienced since early childhood and the prediction of a spiritual existence and future.
During Helena Petrowna’s baptism ceremony in 1831, a girl holding a candle slipped and set the priest’s vestment on fire. The fire spread out and eventually the entire chapel was in flames. Blavatsky’s aunt, N.A. Fadéef, was fascinated by spiritism and paranormal phenomena, and to her this was the first sign projecting an extraordinary future for Helena. She kept a written diary of her niece’s incredible experiences, depicting her already at an early age as having very defined mediumistic powers.
Mystical experiences have happened certainly since the beginning of mankind, but the Fox sisters from Hydesville, New York, made history in declaring themselves of being the first ones who had a dialog with spirits by means of knocking sounds.
With this statement, the 31st of March 1848 is considered to be the birthday of spiritism in modern times.
Controversy is always combined with supernatural anecdotes, but the fascination I have with the subject is not a statement of belief or skepticism. The topic I’m interested in is the perception of what could be a divinatory message, the sensibility of seeing and the interpretational transformation.
The work title, Capillomancie, combines hair (capillo-) and divination (-mancie), playing ironically but not judgmentally with the methodology and art of prophecy.
The photographs depict an accumulation of hair put on the wall of the bathroom lost while washing them; the assemblage of hair becomes an unpremeditated drawing.
Though I completely abstain from a predictionary interpretation, I’m captivated by the diversity of each drawing that could have happened completely coincidentally or be as much as a divinational message.
Pigment prints on rag paper, framed, approx. 52 x 42 cm