Yesterday, I discussed my project with Susan Adams, a tutor of mine, during a personal tutorial, and whilst we discussed my project, I blurted out something without thinking; ‘It’s about grief.’
And it fits, at least as a metaphor. The ‘Magnum Opus’ (Nigredo, Albedo, Citrinitas, Rubedo) can symbolise the stages of grief after a death. As I have been experiencing grief from a first person perspective,what with the recent death and funeral of my grandmother, it has quite obviously affected my artistic output; to the point where I have been attempting to accept my loss through the artwork.
The stages go like this;
Nigredo (Blackness) – The Death, and the subsequent Grief.
Albedo (Whiteness) – The numbing, the birth of acceptance.
Citrinitas (Yellowness) – The new dawn, the final acceptance.
Rubedo (Redness) – The Englightenment, the removal of fear.
Nigredo is the beginning of the Magnum Opus; It is often described as ‘Putrification’ or ‘Decomposition’, and it was believed by the alchemists that all materials used must be extensively cleansed and cooked until they become a uniform black matter, much like the many interpretations of ‘Anti-Matter’. Carl Jung, a famous alchemist ‘compared the “black work” of the alchemists (the nigredo) with the often highly critical involvement experienced by the ego, until it accepts the new equilibrium brought about by the creation of the self’.
The Stage is set.