An Exhibition of Paintings by Gary Dickinson
The Atlantis Bookshop
Saturday 19th June – Saturday 17th July 2010
11:00 – 18:00
In April 1920, on the advice of the I Ching, Aleister Crowley selected Cefalu on the north coast of Sicily to found his Abbey of Thelema. In a fictionalised account he locates the Abbey on the site of Telepylus, a city which even in antiquity was ‘famous for the ruins of forgotten civilisations’. Before the decaying ruins of Crowley’s real Abbey collapse, Gary Dickinson explores one of its most intriguing yet neglected wall paintings.
This exhibition focuses on a red figure painted on one of the walls of La Chambre des Couchmars or the ‘Chamber of Nightmares’; one of the principal rooms of the Abbey.
Crowley described the image as a ‘Memorial Pillar on Earth’ inscribed with ‘various symbols descriptive of the work of bringing the new Message of the Masters of Wisdom to Mankind.’
Exposed and made famous in 1955 by Kenneth Anger and in danger now as the Abbey crumbles into ruins, what Crowley called a ‘hieroglyph of Body of Wisdom contained in the many Volumes of the Holy Books’ has received little attention compared to the more explicit images in La Chambre des Couchmars.
In this series of original works, Gary Dickinson explores, through a visual narrative, the origins and meaning of the Lost Lamen of Thelema, looking for possible ancient sources for the figure and its relationship with other magical symbols. Images are drawn from the Goetia, the Vault of the Adepti, and various Cefalu period paintings as well as symbols included by Crowley in the Liber Reguli ritual and the design of the Lamen of the Master Therion.
The ‘Memorial Pillar’ painted by Crowley at Cefalu emerges as an integral part of the history of Thelema and expresses, in symbolic language, the quintessence of Thelemic belief. The imaginative journey taken by the viewer through Gary’s works leads to a deeper understanding of Crowley’s legacy, restoring the ‘Memorial Pillar’ to its rightful place as a unique Thelemic icon.
The ‘Lost Lamen of Telepylus’ opens at 12pm on Saturday 19th June at The Atlantis Bookshop.
Gary Dickinson will be giving guided ‘tours’ of the exhibition at 12pm and 4pm on that day. All works are for sale. The exhibition runs through until Saturday 17th July.
For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, all the works on display and supporting materials will be available from June 19th on-line at Gary’s website, www.themagicalmandarin.com
About the Artist
Gary Dickinson is best known for the replica Stele of Revealing he produces as the artist-executant of the Company of Heaven. As this exhibition demonstrates, his creativity extends much further. Gary’s approach to his work is always thoughtful and thought-provoking, underpinned by his broad knowledge and scholarship.
A Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, Gary has lectured on Chinese art and symbolism in museums throughout the world and, over the last year, given well-received talks and seminars on the Stele of Revealing and the I Ching.
Having studied the ancient Chinese oracle for over 25 years, Gary has recently begun to share his insights into the I Ching by offering personal consultations through The Atlantis Bookshop.