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Laurence Caruana (born February 16, 1962) is a Maltese artist, writer, and lecturer noted for his contribution to the contemporary visionary art movement, particularly through his Manifesto of Visionary Art.[1]

File:Laurence caruana in his Bastille studio.jpg

BiographyEdit

Laurence Caruana was born the third son of Maltese parents who met and married in Toronto, Canada. After completing his studies in German and ancient Greek Philosophy (B.A. from the University of Toronto 1985), he learned classical painting techniques at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna 1990).[2]

Caruana then began an itinerant existence, living variously in Toronto, Malta, Vienna, Munich, Monaco, and Paris. In that period, he actively pursued visionary experience (dreams, entheogens) as a source for his painting and writing.[3] After meeting his French fiançée in Munich, L. Caruana settled in Paris. In the year 2000 he met Ernst Fuchs of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism and subsequently apprenticed under him for a year, working in his studios in Monaco and Castillon, as well as at the St. Egyd chapel in Klagenfurt.[2]

Caruana currently works in his atelier in the Bastille, and often travels abroad to exhibit his works or deliver lecture presentations on visionary art. The year 2008 marks the publication of Enter Through the Image (Recluse 2008, ISBN 978-0-9782637-2-0) and his first painting seminar Visions in the Mischtechnik.[4]

PaintingEdit

After apprenticing with Ernst Fuchs, Caruana began using the Mischtechnik, a painting technique which alternates between glazes of oil color (mixed in an oleo-resinous medium) and water-based whites (mixed in egg tempera or casein).

His art is highly mythological. Through fine lines, strong colors and precise rendering, Caruana's work manifests the imagery typical of visionary experience. More uniquely, his work combines symbols and styles from different cultural mythologies.

He has exhibited his works in London, Paris, Munich, Monaco, and other cities, both individually and as part of various visionary groups (les Visionnaires in France, Dali's Erben in Germany, Society for Art of Imagination in England).

His work has also appeared on album covers,[5] in magazines,[6] as tattoos, trading cards,[7] and in posters for trance gatherings.

WritingEdit

Caruana's creative and critical writing are extensions of his interest in mythology and visionary art.

Creative writingEdit

In a novel such as The Hidden Passion (Recluse 2007 ISBN 978-0-9782637-0-6), the author has retold the tale of Christ from the Gnostic perspective. Though condemned by the early church as a heresy, Gnosticism expands Christian myth by incorporating motifs from other cultures, such as ancient Greece (Platonism) and Egypt (Hermeticism). Throughout the novel, Christ utters the actual sayings (logia) of the Gnostic gospels found at Nag Hammadi Egypt. L. Caruana's interest in Gnosticism forms part of a much broader fascination with crossing myths from different cultural mythologies.[8]

Critical writingEdit

Due to his deep involvement with the Visionary art movement, L. Caruana has also become one of its spokesmen. Through his on-line Visionary Revue, he has documented the history and evolution of this international movement. His Manifesto of Visionary Art (Recluse 2001, English and French editions) was published on-line and in print to an enthusiastic response.[9] The creative essays Myrette and A Mirror Delirious, which appear in issue 4, bring up to date all the author’s thoughts and insights into Visionary art since the publication of the Manifesto.[10]

Caruana's life-long pursuit of 'the ancient image-language' reached fruition in a book entitled Enter Through the Image: The Ancient Image-Language of Myth, Art and Dreams (Recluse 2008 ISBN 978-0-9782637-2-0). Here, he clearly delineates how different cultural symbols may be combined, or how various myths may cross one another. Drawing upon examples from sacred and visionary art, the book demonstrates how we may 'think through' images and even enter through the image.[11]

LecturesEdit

From his atelier in the Bastille, L. Caruana often travels abroad to deliver lectures on visionary art. He has spoken at such venues as the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris,[12] the Metageum conference in Malta,[13] and Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in New York.[14]

PublicationsEdit

By L. CaruanaEdit

  • The Hidden Passion: A Novel of the Gnostic Christ, Based on the Nag Hammadi Texts (Recluse 2007, ISBN 978-0-9782637-0-6).
  • Enter Through the Image: The Ancient Image-Language of Myth, Art and Dreams (Recluse 2008, ISBN 978-0-9782637-2-0).
  • A Manifesto of Visionary Art (Recluse 2001, English and French editions).
  • Fragments: The First Accumulation of Works (Recluse 1989).

On (or including) L. CaruanaEdit

  • Metamorphosis, 50 Contemporary Surreal, Fantastic and Visionary Artists edited by Jon Beinart (Beinart Publishing 2007 ISBN 978-0-9803231-0-8)
  • Erik Davis, The New Eye: Visionary Art and Tradition, Introduction to True Visions (Betty Books, 2006 ISBN 88-902372-0-1), which first appeared in the COSM Journal of Visionary Culture, volume IV (COSM Press, 2006).
  • Silvia Thyssen, Boundaries in Question : Examining Visionary Art, Erowid Extracts: Psychoactive Plants and Chemicals, May 2003.
  • COSM Journal of Visionary Culture, volume V (COSM Press, 2008)
  • La Mort Transfigurée: L'Art Visionnaire et la Mort (Galerie l'Arche de Morphée, 2006)
  • Dalis Erben malen Europa, edited by Roger M. Erasmy (Kastner Verlag, 2005)

External linksEdit

  • L. Caruana main site
  • Visionary Revue edited by L. Caruana.
  • The Gnostic Q featuring The Hidden Passion.
  • Article on Visionary Art (with reference to L. Caruana). Silvia Thyssen, Boundaries in Question : Examining Visionary Art, Erowid Extract, May 2003.
  • Article on Visionary Art (with reference to L. Caruana). Erik Davis, The New Eye: Visionary Art and Tradition, Introduction to True Visions (Betty Books, 2006 ISBN 88-902372-0-1), which first appeared in the COSM Journal, issue 4.
  • L. Caruana in Erowid's Visionary Art Vaults.
  • L. Caruana in the Visionary Art Collective.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Published, secondary source references to L. Caruana's Manifesto may be found at:
    • Silvia Thyssen, Boundaries in Question : Examining Visionary Art, Erowid Extracts: Psychoactive Plants and Chemicals, May 2003, p. 18.
    • Erik Davis, The New Eye: Visionary Art and Tradition, Introduction to True Visions (Betty Books, 2006 ISBN 88-902372-0-1) pp. 5-8. This article first appeared in the COSM Journal of Visionary Culture, volume IV (COSM Press, 2006) p. 59.
    • Metamorphosis, 50 Contemporary Surreal, Fantastic and Visionary Artists edited by Jon Beinart (Beinart Publishing 2007 ISBN 978-0-9803231-0-8) pp. 2-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dalis Erben malen Europa, edited by Roger M. Erasmy (Kastner Verlag, 2005) p. 14.
  3. La Mort Transfigurée: L'Art Visionnaire et la Mort (Galerie l'Arche de Morphée, 2006) p. 79.
  4. L. Caruana website: http://www.lcaruana.com/webtext/bio.html
  5. The Artaxian Mantra's EP Luneo: http://www.theartaxianmantra.com
  6. Elegy magazine, Fall 2006: http://www.elegy.fr/
  7. The Galactik Trading Card Oracle Complex: http://www.elvism.net/
  8. Caruana, Laurence, The Hidden Passion: A Novel of the Gnostic Christ, Based on the Nag Hammadi Texts (Recluse 2007, ISBN 978-0-9782637-0-6) Back cover.
  9. See, for example:
    • Silvia Thyssen, Boundaries in Question : Examining Visionary Art, Erowid Extracts: Psychoactive Plants and Chemicals, May 2003, which also exists on-line at: Article.
    • Erik Davis, The New Eye: Visionary Art and Tradition, Introduction to True Visions (Betty Books, 2006 ISBN 88-902372-0-1), which first appeared in the COSM Journal, issue 4 and also appears on-line at Article
  10. Visionary Revue
  11. Caruana, Laurence, Enter Through the Image: The Ancient Image-Language of Myth, Art and Dreams (Recluse 2008, ISBN 978-0-9782637-2-0) Back cover.
  12. See the RISC (Relais d'information sur les sciences de la cognition) website: http://hallucinations.risc.cnrs.fr/
  13. Metageum conference: http://www.metageum.org/
  14. Chapel of Sacred Mirrors: http://www.cosm.org/

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