Richard Kraft, Her Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera
Proceeding from Thoreau’s observation, “Yes and No are lies. A true answer will not aim to establish anything, but rather to set all well afloat,” Kraft subverts all certainty to reconstruct a world constantly in flux, rich with dark humor and its own revelatory nonsense. Author Danielle Dutton’s set of sixteen interpolations punctuate the book using similar strategies of appropriation and juxtaposition to create texts that sing in the same arresting register as Kraft’s collages. Here Comes Kitty also includes a wide-ranging conversation between Kraft and poet Ann Lauterbach. -Siglio
Tantra Song: Tantric Painting From RajasthanIt could be a cult classic: the debut edition of Siglio Press’s Tantra Song—one of the only books to survey the elusive tradition of abstract Tantric painting from Rajasthan, India—sold out in a swift six weeks. The works depict deities as geometric, vividly hued shapes and mark a clear departure from Tantric art’s better-known figurative styles. They also resonate uncannily with lineages of twentieth-century art—from the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism to Minimalism—as well as with much painting today. Rarely have the ancient and the modern come together so fluidly.
Tantra Song is a singular and revelatory collection of rare Tantric paintings made anonymously by adepts in Rajasthan and used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. The paintings’ magnetic, vibratory beauty—as well as their deep affinity with 20th century abstract art—inspires acute attention and boundless contemplation.
The paintings are the progeny of hand-written, illustrated religious treatises from the 17th century which have been copied over multiple generations. Like musicians playing ragas of classical Indian music, adepts paint in a concentrated state of mental rapture, repeating and subtly reinterpreting melodic structures of line and color. When complete, the paintings—made in tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged paper—are pinned to the wall to use in private meditation.
Having spent more than two decades in conversation with the private communities of Rajasthani tantrikas, Jamme—like other poet-ethnographers Michaux, Leiris, and Bataille before him—draws on an unconventional body of knowledge. His accompanying texts—concise and luminous—further open readers to the paintings’ subtle magic.