Dusa Jesih, Black Star / Penta(n)gram | United we stand, divided we fall, polyptych painting, acrylic on canvas 180 cm, 2016
Dusa Jesih, Penta(n)gram | United we stand, divided we fall, polyptych painting, acrylic on canvas 180 cm, 2016
The work of art is part of a more broadly conceived project titled Penta(n)gram, conceptually based on the five-pointed red star. The work bears the title United we stand, divided we fall / Cosmic process – utopian tendencies towards universal harmony, and is centered around the above-mentioned symbol shaped out of scrap metal from cars (measuring approximately 2 meters in diameter). The star – similarly to a tangram-style puzzle – consists of six triangles, which can be freely rearranged and combined into new, different shapes. Each of the elements – by fulfilling its function and in correlation with others – performs in the spirit of solidarity and contributes to a complete picture.
The origin of the recycled material invokes the Fordist production, or rather man’s integration into social processes and various systems. The work of art could therefore be interpreted as a way of questioning the freedom of everyman, but I found grounds for the quest for micro/macro cosmos in the five-pointed red star in Jung’s “collective unconscious”. The star – by definition a luminous sphere of plasma, but in everyday conversation about the universe often standing for other celestial bodies – is a universal symbol. Today, it is inevitably equated with Communism – which among other things exploited the cosmos to assert its supremacy – but with my work, which allows establishment of new relations between the triangles, I would primarily like to make visible the multiple meaningful layers of this ancient symbol embraced by many cultures and religions. The mystic traditions of Middle Eastern religions used the five- pointed star to represent the idea of the sacred being contained in the earthly human, Pythagoras established it as a supreme mystical symbol, in ancient times it was the symbol for Venus and Aphrodite, in the Middle Ages it was used in magic to fight evil and break spells, alchemists considered it the quintessence, and today the star is the most frequent symbol in national flags.
Despite the seemingly strict conceptual matrix and ideological burden accumulated over the last century, the work of art – by utilizing the tangram technique, which is considered by some psychologists to be the oldest psychological test – enters into dialogue with the viewer and provides an opportunity for new solutions in terms of composition and perception, thus loosening the symbol’s apparent single meaning. The five-pointed red star is therefore the symbol which throughout history has been shared, owned and adapted by many.
Dusa Jesih, 2016