Calcutta, India, the Hindu goddess, Kali, emerges on the first moonless
night in October, wailing her seductive and powerful contrapuntal chorus
of life and death. Breathing life into the crudely fashioned clay, straw,
and bamboo statues of the deity and her companions, the Yoginis, a priest
invokes the spirit of this dynamic goddess of creation and destruction.
and worshipped for several days, the festival or puja, concludes with
the priest exhuming the spirit from the statue before it is taken to
the Hooghly River, where turned three times, it is returned to the water.
Fashioned from the elements by local craftsmen, these transitory statues
bear within them their own dissolution, and the eternal cycle of life
Livick photographs these statues, as well as the rich and ephemeral
rituals associated with the Kali Puja, and its cyclical embrace of the
acts of creation and annihilation. Visually attracted to the richly
textural sunbaked mud walls, Livick positions the statues, taking multiple
photographs, from which he later creates elaborate murals, one of which
includes 972 separate images. With their disjunctures and ceaseless
movement, the murals effectively and palpably share in the frenzied
and generative energy that is Kali.
the Yoginis as well, symbols of humanity's weaknesses, Livick reveals
mankind's collective fear of the unknown. An abstract, primal fear that
gripped Livick personally, he wrestled with these demons both emotionally
and visually, producing a series of work that speaks to the constant
tension between life and death, bound inexorably together in the human
consciousness. Vision, emotion, and intellect merge for Livick.
Like the feminine principles represented in ancient goddess worship,
his art is instinctive, informed from personal inspiration, dreams,
and a commitment to his subconscious. It is an inner celebration of
innocence and the desire to create. Like Kali, who is the primordial
formlessness from which all creation begins, Livick's murals, in their
fractured form, participate in the deity's eternal flux.
In his profound commitment to India, Livick found a dimension of life that extends beyond culture and religion to the very core of existence. In the fevered celebrations of Kali Puja, the people of Calcutta embrace the bittersweet dichotomy of life and death, Kali's creation and destruction prefiguring the cyclical nature of the karmic wheel. Striking and intense, the murals mark a culmination of Livick's visionary journey over the last decade, both inward and outward, participating in the elemental struggle of the human spirit, and the sacred and eternal dance of Kali.