E N T H E O N
Chapel Of Sacred Mirrors by J.P. Harpignies
The Sacred Mirrors series is a totally unique work of contemporary sacred art created by Alex Grey. This installation of 21 framed images, consisting of 19 paintings and two etched mirrors, examines the anatomy of body, mind and spirit in rich detail. Each painting presents a life-sized figure facing viewers and inviting them to mirror the images, creating a sense of seeing into oneself. The life-sized representations of the human body, portraying its physical and energetic systems, are both rigorously precise and vividly visionary. The Sacred Mirrors dramatically reveal the miracle of life's evolutionary complexity, the unity of human experience across all racial, class and gender divides, and the astonishing vistas of possibility inherent in human consciousness. Alex Grey has combined ancient wisdom, anatomical accuracy and post-modern eclecticism to produce elegant, universally accessible, eternally relevant and resonant symbols.
The Sacred Mirrors are beloved by thousands of people who have seen them installed throughout the United States and Canada. Over 50,000 copies of the book Sacred Mirrors have been sold and the book is translated into five languages. The work is widely admired by health-care practitioners of all kinds, critics, artists, thinkers and seekers from a wide variety of traditions.
These awe-inspiring images emerged from courageous explorations of the visionary state that Alex had with his wife, artist Allyson Grey. Allyson, who initiated and named the project, worked along side Alex on the frames and consulted on much of the painting which Alex accomplished over a period of ten years with relentless artistic discipline and painstaking work. Alex's early forays into dark, transgressive performance art, his youthful obsessions with death and decay, including a long stint working in a morgue, also deeply inform his later, mature, luminous work. The Sacred Mirrors have a power and authenticity that can only spring from a soul who has plunged into the darker realms and come out whole. In his introduction to Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey, Carlo McCormick compares Grey's creative journey to a shaman who travels at great peril to the lower realms to emerge with healing teachings for the tribe.
Grey's work, in Ken Wilber's words "...reminds us of our own higher possibilities, our own deepest nature, our own most profound ground, which we are all invited to rediscover." This carries on the lineage of sacred art as diverse as shamanic X-ray art, the artwork of 12th century abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, Michelangelo, Bosch, Blake, and Buddhist Thangka painters. Alex, a professor of anatomy in the Fine Arts Department at NYU for ten years and one-time professional medical illustrator, informs his paintings with an almost hyper-realistic accuracy. This combination of perennial wisdom and scientific exactitude, marks a most fruitful marriage of ancient spiritual and modern analytic worldviews.
Many people have inquired where Grey's works may be seen and have urged Alex and Allyson to build a Chapel of Sacred Mirrors where the entire series and a number of related pieces could be permanently exhibited. The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors would be a space for contemplation, meditation, events and ceremonies, a vital cultural institution like the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Frederick Franck's Pacem in Terris in upstate New York, or Noguchi's museum in Long Island City. This chapel must offer a setting that optimizes the aesthetic appreciation and transformative potential of the work.
Supporters of the Chapel project have decided to make this dream a reality by establishing an organization to actively seek a site for the Chapel of the Sacred Mirrors. In this initial, exploratory stage we are approaching prospective donors and influential people who might have ideas about potential sites and/or funding, and visionary architects who might be interested in participating in the design of the chapel. Whether this permanent home will be under the auspices of an existing museum or cultural organization or be an entirely new stucture and institution is still an open question. If you have suggestions on how this vision might best be realized or wish to contribute to this endeavor, we invite and welcome your assistance. The Sacred Mirrors speak to our highest aspirations as a species: universal compassion, respect for all life, a deep appreciation of all cultures and wisdom traditions, awakened consciousness and a full flowering of our human potential. In a Chapel of beauty they could contribute to the radical raising of awareness we so desperately need if we are to succesfully navigate our way to a saner, more loving and life-affirming civilization.
Of Sacred Mirrors
Board of Advisors:
The chapel architecture is in the shape of a twisted pyramid, symbolic of the dynamic force of evolution. Inside the glass pyramid a geodesic world globe gridded with a network of eyes represents the collective consciousness of the planet, a "World Spirit". Visitors to the Chapel can turn the giant prayer wheel, inscribed with blessings of peace and healing from every faith.
Many of Grey's other important works will also be on view, including the elaborate Nature of Mind altarpiece, Godhead, Theologue and many of the Progress of the Soul paintings, providing a holy context for the human journey from conception to death. A gallery space in the building would exhibit work of other artists following a sacred or visionary sensibility. ENTHEON will act as a catalyst for the evolution of consciousness by displaying art which evokes higher mind states in the viewer.