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surreal oil painting combining erotic elements with life, procreation and death
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eroto-cosmological birth sequence. oil. 1987. demetrios vakras


The intention of this painting was to represent life, fertility, and death within the context of the cosmological processes of star and galaxy generation, destruction, and renewal from the resultant debris of which both are a part. All existence is a continual re–creation into something other than what once had been, out of the debris of what once was. It is the eternal continuum of everything constantly undergoing the same processes of decay to then flower into something else. All that exists is in a state of becoming. The cosmological element used in the painting is the Horsehead Nebula, a cloud of interstellar dust. Heavy elements only exist because a star has run its course and exploded. Everything that we, as living entities are composed of, is the detritus of collapsed stars. We are therefore composed of "star–dust".
The star to the left has been transformed into an ovum as it appears under a microscope which is surrounded by seminal fluid; sperm. The female form was suggested by the image of the nebula which suggested the legs. Taken from a "men's magazine" she is intended to represent alluring sexuality, while at the same time being shown to be decomposing into, composed of, anatomical components represented by the rib–cage. She is a cadaver in waiting, an incubator giving birth to that which will replace her, part of that process of becoming. The act of coitus represented at the bottom left leads to the process of fertility, hence the star being fertilised. (Note: the rib–cage is not a Biblical reference; its form too was suggested by the image of the nebula.)

In part, the idea of birth and the cosmos evolved in the context of my awareness of works such as Kupka's The Beginning of Life, though its elements of the "mystery" of the "life force" and "eternity", forming out of the Buddha's lotus, were always too idealistic (naïve) as the element of death and deterioration is absent.


Left: Frantizek Kupka, The Beginning of Life, 1900-1903. The mystical (naïve) Buddhist elements are lost on me.


Left: Tchelitchev (Tchelitchew), Hide and Seek (Cache–cache), 1940-1942. Tchelitchev here depicts a tree–of–life which is itself composed from veins and arteries, within which can be seen emergent anatomical elements which take the form of foetuses. Life, it would appear, is the energy that is concealed in the physical elements that enclose it and from which it is composed. My painting was attempting to show the sexual component of the same (or similar) theme in the context of the impermanence of life.

Tchelitchev's painting is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. (A monograph on his works can be bought here).