Michaël Bellon, the arts and The Tarot
|This author continues to be fascinated by artistic symbolism. For an artist there are many ways to depart from realism, which is a style, but also from reality, which is a aspect of life. An artist may want to escape from reality, such as in fantasy art, or he may want to transcend reality or discover a deeper reality, which is the domain of symbolism. I chose to include Michaël Bellon's art in this abstract artists gallery because of the way he combines geometric abstraction with the mystique of symbolism. While geometric abstraction (compare Mondrian, Malevich) seems to be the domain of the cool, analytic mind, with which symbolic mysticism seems to be at variance, but not in the art work of Michaël Bellon.
Michaël Bellon has an affinity with Tarot, to the point that it becomes the center of his art work. For those who don't know what Tarot is, I will try to give a simple explanation.
Today tarot is associated with mysticism, but originally tarot was just a card game. Unlike bridge, in which the trump card is determined by a system of bidding and any card can be a trump card, tarot has a set of 22 permanent trump cards, which are represented by symbolic pictures.
In fact, playing card games originated in the Islamic world until they were introduced in Europe in the 14th century. In the 15th century the game of tarot originated in Northern Italy and in the 18th century occultists began to attribute a deeper meaning to the symbolic pictures of the tarot cards.
Michaël Bellon has created a series of 22 paintings, which he calls Collection
"Les Arcanes Majeurs du Tarot" (the major arcana of the tarot collection), which constitute his version of the tarot's trump cards, or arcana. Arcana comes from the Latin arcanum, which means "deep secret", or referring to the occult. The arcana refer to the symbolic pictures on the trump cards and represent aspects of human experience, while the full set of the arcana represents "the fool's journey", which stands for a person's walk of life in which he gains wisdom.
I am fascinated with the mind that seeks to express a higher reality in art. Symbolist art however, can be very mushy and childishly unrealistic. Michael Bellon uses means that are simple and formal, resulting in a directness and clarity that would seem to conflict with the very nature of symbolism. His art is a case study for every abstract artist interested in how to incorporate symbolism in abstract art.