There’s a garden of plants and animals. A garden inhabited by signs, symbols and archetypes invoking and recalling remote worlds. In this magic place, curious hands play with the matter, blending it with the unconscious. They mould it with subtle and joyful intuitions. As in an alchemic laboratory, the substances are selected, analysed, decomposed and treated. It’s a creative process with the beat of slow incubation and sudden epiphanies. A process in which the power of imagination forces the inertia of reality.
As alchemy tried to transform base materials into gold, what emerges here is a precious distillate, resulting from a dreamy process of transmutation of the matter. A transformative whirl that reassembles fragments, codes and stories projected on a fresh horizon of sense. A change of status where echoes and survivals, “repressions and returns of the repressed, repetitions and revisions, traditions and missing links, tectonic movements and superficial earthquakes” (G. Didi-Huberman) create the plot of a new tale.
The alchemist’s garden is an anti-modern laboratory because it denies some of the principles on which is based a certain scientism characterised by rigidity and determinism. It’s the place where the deadly logic of non-contradiction is overcome. The place where the ambivalence, intended as possibility to welcome antithetic explanations of the real, is celebrated. In this frame, dualisms (man-woman, essence-appearance, shadow-light, immanence-transcendence, body-spirit, good-evil, inside-outside), classifying approaches and strict separations deflagrate.
It’s an operation directed to recover the complexity of existence where superimpositions and shades, apparent contradictions and false antinomies live together. To think of oneself as individual, in fact, involves the necessity to recognize oneself as a multiple becoming (G. Deleuze): a unity that shelters inside a “parliament of selves” (G. H. Mead), a multitude of identities, conciliatory and conflictual, known and unknown.
This unity is well represented by an ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ouroboros: a snake eating up its own tail. A symbol containing any paradox: it destroys and conceives in a process of self renewal that englobes the opposite. An androgynous, hybrid, spurious revolt that saps the foundations of the deadly rigidity of dichotomous thought.