New York

“Serpentology Drawings”

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 24th Street

In Indian cosmogony, the serpent is assigned a variety of sometimes contradictory symbolic roles. According to Vedic legend, it is the first creature: Before the origin of the world, Vishnu sleeps stretched out on a cushion of rolled-up snake coils, floating in the cosmic ocean. In Tantrism, it is the link between earth and universe: Cosmic energy resides in the human body at the base of the spine, like a coiled and sleeping serpent, and unwinds toward the crown of the head on awakening (a result of meditation). It is the potential from which all manifestations come, the reservoir of all latencies, but it is also the creator of time, the Ouroboros that constantly devours its own tail: the representation of the cycle of births and deaths. And in this form it is the attribute of Shiva, creator and destroyer god.

In the most refined group of drawings, seventeen works in plant pigments and

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