Today, Imagination is confused with fantasy. The ancients were rather more subtle, and as recently as the Renaissance, observed that fantasy “is an exercise of thought without foundation in nature”—this may sound like our understanding of imagination, but to them this was the “madman’s cornerstone” and an undesirable activity. In contrast, Imaginatio, the imaginative power, is a faculty of perception, a subtle organ of cognition, “as fully real as the faculties of sensory perception or intellectual intuition”. Imagination perceives the intermediate world between physical reality and pure thought, between “the empirical world and the world of abstract understanding”. Known to Arab thinkers as ‘âlam al-mithâl, the world of images, Henry Corbin coined for it the term mundus imaginalis or imaginal world (as opposed to “imaginary”). This is where all the images and symbols that have nourished human cultures since the dawn of time reside, objectively real, though not material in nature. To quote Corbin:
“The existence of this intermediate world, mundus imaginalis, thus appears metaphysically necessary; the cognitive function of the Imagination is ordered to it; it is a world whose ontological level is above the world of the senses and below the pure intelligible world; it is more immaterial than the former and less immaterial than the latter. There has always been something of major importance in this for all our mystical theosophers. Upon it depends, for them, both the validity of visionary accounts that perceive and relate “events in Heaven” and the validity of dreams, symbolic rituals, the reality of places formed by intense meditation, the reality of inspired imaginative visions, cosmogonies and theogonies, and thus, in the first place, the truth of the spiritual sense perceived in the imaginative data of prophetic revelations.”
To achieve an ultramarine so deep you can fall into it, I created a coat so saturated with pigment it is perfectly matte and even. The gold dots wrap around the corners to achieve a sculptural dimension, and the cradled panel is ready to hang, removing all separation between art piece and viewer (though I strongly discourage touching the surface).