April 27th, 2010

A face too expressive to be pretty

I have always staged my fears as a way to transcend them.

She has often used Ayurvedic, shamanistic, Buddhist, Gurjieffian, and othe holistic or ascetic practicers to initiate her students.

Her role as an artist, she believes ... is to lead her spectators through an anxious passage to a place of release from whatever has confined them.

In every ancient culture there are rituals to mortify the body as a way of understanding that the energy of the soul is indestructible. The more I think about energy, the simpler my art becomes, because it is just about pure presence.

She has screamed until she lost her voice, danced until she collapsed, and brushed her hair until her scalp bled. In an early piece, she ingested anti-psychotic drug that caused temporary catatonia.

What makes it art? Context and intention, she said: "The sense of purpose I feel to do something heroic, legendary, and transformative: to elevate viewers' spirits and give the courage. If I can go through the door of pain to embrace life on the other side, they can, too."