Roger Caillois perceived the “art of nature” not as an anthropomorphic projection, but as “one of the secret cyphers of the universe ”. He also greatly admired the Chinese painter K’iao Chan and his act of simply appending his signature to a fragment of marble.
The practice of regarding stones as active objects capable of awakening the imagination has been recognized since antiquity. In China, the ability to recognize possible forms in the involuntary drawings of marble surfaces was regarded as an exercise comparable to every other aesthetic expression. Sometimes, these geological treasures seem to be painted with a rocky landscape or a transient skyscape. The stones were (and to this day still are) selected for their ability to stimulate thought, imagination and wonder. The dreamstones became real artworks, often signed by the artist, solely on the accusation of selecting and giving it a title. The subtle and ambiguous patterns of these dreamstones were believed to be a source of knowledge and insight for any sage who was able to study them patiently. As Callois writes in The Writing of Stones (La Lecture des Pierres) : Amy Hilton Amy Hilton “Such objects… reduce space, they condense time. They are the object of prolonged reverie and medita – tion.. a means of communication with the Real World. The sage contemplates them, ventures into them..”. Reverie reconciles the world and the subject, past and present, solitude and comminucation, material and spiritual. By assuming the whole universe in its images; silmultaneously creative and natural, the value of reverie is indissolubly aesthetic and ontological.
Reverie gives us a cosmos. In this age of the Anthropocene, in an age of widespread spiritual neglect, where we have developed a fragmented vision of the universe and lost the unity with nature, Amy Hilton has come to recognise that dreamstones can function as a tool to reawaken the sense of the “spiritual”, and a vision of unity. A way of returning to those archaic societies where man once viewed himself, as a part of nature, and nature, as a part of himself, where all elements of existence were interlinked. The scared symbolism of the dreamstone can enable us to journey towards a deeper connection with the cosmos itself ; towards something that is deeply embedded within us. By compelling us to dream, we are guided towards confronting the reality that actually is.
For her collaboration with Spazio Nobile at Art on Paper, Amy Hilton will present a selection of works which draw upon her recent contemplations and research revolving around the poetics of the Chinese “dali” dreamstone. Ranging from watercolour and inks on paper to dry pastels and charcoals through to found fragments of stone, there is a unity in the diversity. The collection also interweaves new work that follow a deep interest she possesses of Eastern mysticsm. Some of these pieces, shown for the first time at Art on Paper, have been created in a direct response to the artist’s recent voyage to India.