In the sage telestic waters... I see...

04.12.2021

2016 – ongoing

water-cast aluminum for molybdomancy,
dimensions variable and reconfigured each time shown

“The practice of molybdomancy—a sort of residue of alchemical inquiry that originated in Ancient Greece—has persisted through millennia in the careful and resolute hands of wise women, and now exists in varied forms in Nordic and Central Europe, and Turkey. Traditionally invoked on New Year’s Eve, molybdomancy is a means of divining by pouring molten metal into cool water, resulting in the quick solidifying of the alloy into forms that are then interpreted, either directly or via the shadows they cast. Calgary artist Miruna Dragan’s In the sage telestic waters… I see… (2016–) is a large-scale exercise of such divination; the artist dropped substantial quantities of liquid aluminum into vats of cold water to create stalactite- and stalagmite-like structures. These forms are malleable in that they can be arranged in innumerable permutations; light and shadow are translated into meaning and fortune, molten metal into objects of preternatural significance…”

— Natasha Chaykowski, Canadian Art Magazine, Summer 2018 issue on Translation

photos: D. Brown, N.K Westman, M. Dragan

 

“In this work, the element Aluminum (atomic #13) is (re)presented with a wall-bound assemblage that complicates the relationship between our own body in space-time and the larger bodies we inhabit formed over geologic time. Suspended before a aluminium-leafed wall, water-cast aluminium forms recall the divination technique of molybdomancy, wherein molten metal is dropped into water and the resulting shapes, or their cast shadows, are interpreted as omens.Our bewilderment by the overlay of the intrinsic and symbolic values of such materials is both ancient and ongoing”. – Miruna Dragan