“Tanja Stark is an artist and deep thinker who lectured on Bowie during the Australian leg of David Bowie Is… the travelling VA exhibit….Tanja Stark’s remarkable essay is must reading …for all artists and dreamers!”
“Here’s an interview I did with Brian Eno a couple of years back, on how the arts and religion help us surrender and go beyond the ego. And here’s one I did with David Byrne on how the arts help us achieve a post-religious ecstasy and catharsis. And finally, here’s a great essay by Tanja Stark on the influence of Jungian psychology on Bowie’s work.…Tanja’s work on depth psychology and creative expression in contemporary arts is very well researched, original and insightful and a level above most rock academic criticism. I found it a useful resource in my own research into ecstatic experiences and rock and roll.”
Jules Evans author Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations.
Policy Director Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary,
University of London.
Discovering Tanja Stark’s work, the Sublime Vessels currently exhibited at Gallery 61, Kelvin Grove in a perfect harmony with the oceanic dreamscapes of John Carozza is to experience the joy of a vision made tangible, executed with a sensibility that effortlessly harmonise sculptural virtuosity and restraint. The Vessels superbly original, eerily familiar, ancient and new, radiate a tangible charisma teasing the viewer out of thought towards a more instinctive response, for this viewer it was a sense of wonder.
Naturally the presence of these refined shapes ethereally spiralling into space remind us of the relationship between the spiritual and the artefact. The use of Vessels in the enactment of the Sacred is well known; lamps illuminating darkness, boats solemnly voyaging to the afterlife , as vases holding wine for Thoth pacing the white corridors of his lunar mansion, and our own bodies, the vessel for the soul.
The supreme metaphor is woman as the vessel of all human life, the place that is passed through at birth and consequently the place that inaugurates death. We are aware of it and yet it is unknowable, the flow of life always beyond conscious control, the sublime power of our need to create and nurture life , the very moment of orgasm rippling through time, a surrender to the alterity of the senses, before words, before artifacts. An archetypal event perhaps.
These beautifully wrought works achieve a rare a synthesis of formal clarity and evocative mystery , like all perfect things they remain elusive while demanding to be looked at. This was an encounter with something special, Vessels as timeless as music from a seashell calling us back to a place beyond memory and yet somehow recalled.
I have been teaching at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Czech Republic, (including the Faculty of Fine Art), for the past two decades. On discovering artist Tanja Stark’s work we subsequently included this as part of the recommended reading list ( http://www.horus.cz/WProclamatio/?p=1569 ) for JAMU/Scenography students. Her work provides a fascinating and creative way for students to gain insight into the enduring relationship between ancient archetypal mythology (scenography, scenery, setting) and visionary art, modern pop iconography and new myths in the contemporary arts.
Martin M. Mrskos Lecturer Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts,
“I owe a special thank you to Nomi Kluger-Nash for letting me know about Tanja Stark’s essay on Bowie, [Crashing Out with Sylvian, 2015 ] which gave me the idea for this essay.”
Dr Michael Escamilla : Psychiatrist, Scientist and Jungian analyst.
B.A. (Harvard); M.D. (University of Texas Southwestern Medical School);
post-doctorate work psychiatry and psychiatric genetics (University of California), Jungian training (C.G. Jung Institute of Zurich (Küsnacht); Professor and Founding Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Neurosciences (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre)
Discussion of the esoteric aspects of Bowie’s life and work can be found readily online, with speculation unsurprisingly booming after Bowie’s recent passing. Much of this material is tainted with tosh…However, there are several writers who have produced well-developed analyses of Bowie’s esoteric dimensions that are available online. Mark Dery is an American cultural theorist [who] contemplates the star’s appeal in relation to the Messianic mysticism of Christianity, while Australian artist Tanja Stark has written extensively on Jungian interpretations of Bowie’s work (‘Jung the foreman’ being a lyric in Drive-In Saturday from 1973’s Aladdin Sane). “
Dr Dean Ballinger, University of Waikato
Department of Screen and Media Studies via Brian Eno’s Website.
“The conflation of the sacred and the profane or banal – here Jesus Christ superimposed on a stove-top element – opens up a range of semiotics/conceptual possibilities that you can reflect upon. I just want to touch on a few. Icarus-like and perpetually in ascent but also nailed to the cross (and, in fact, an abstraction of the tortured body-in-pain) Jesus here reflects a movement between transcendence and keeping grounded, refigured in a kitsch-like object that treats a figure of reverence irreverently. Materializing and domesticating spirituality, transcendence, God ….for me it is the backdrop of a stove-top element that is most interesting…bringing into the public realm of Church, the material objects of the domestic…”
‘Terror Begins at Home’: Textualisations and Visualisations of Domestic Violence’
University of Queensland Dr Shelley Kulperger