“Whilst consciousness and unconsciousness bi-rotated inside darkness behind light before the end of the future in a lemon yellow mountain lake reunion surrounded by painted trees and cerulean asteroids a lush wilderness of supernovae and extinct roaming voices”
- Kabbalistic Manuscripts 08
P·P·O·W is pleased to present Kabbalistic Futurism, Suzanne Treister’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Since the 1980s, Treister has conducted years-long investigations into societal taxonomies and technological paradigms to expose the existence of covert, unseen forces that bind power, identity, and knowledge. With a focus on the relationship between technology, science, spirituality, and art, Treister’s recent projects propose the necessity of a holistic embrace of these perceived binaries to envision possibilities for a more ethical technological future. In Kabbalistic Futurism, Treister draws from the ideas and mythologies of Jewish mysticism in conjunction with her ongoing collaboration with scientists at CERN to reveal how science and spirituality form a spectrum in which the creation of a just planetary future hinges on our ability to think differently.
A project that began in 2021, Kabbalistic Futurism offers an open-ended exploration into the layers of reality beyond current scientific reach using the teachings of Treister’s Jewish upbringing, specifically her early fascination with the Kabbalah for its ability to open her mind in new directions. Long before the discovery of the Big Bang, Kabbalist texts contained the notion that all creation sprang forth from one point. In this way, Treister’s interest in the Kabbalah finds unexpected parallels to her current collaborations with cosmologists and astrophysicists at CERN, the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Treister states, “I am interested in the idea that these areas of Kabbalah and scientific cosmology might be capable of informing each other in their search for the underlying nature of reality, just as I feel that experimenting with thinking like an artist could have a positive effect on scientists.”
Inventing an alternative version of the Kabbalah for our contemporary society, Treister grounds this exhibition in the Kabbalistic Manuscripts; a single roving and poetic text written by Treister divided between 46 watercolor works on paper accompanied by an A.I narrator. Each verse is contained within a Tree of Life diagram. In the Kabbalah, Trees of Life function as abstract tools to map the point beyond human comprehension of the origins of being and are comprised of 10 connected nodes, which act as skeleton keys for unlocking the universe. In Kabbalistic Futurism, Treister replaces these nodes with her signature futuristic architectural imaginings, through which she encourages positive transformative visions.
Alongside the Kabbalistic Manuscripts, Treister presents paintings and works on paper which transform her Tree of Life interpretations into blueprints for a potential future technological utopia. Hallucinogenic and hypnotic, Treister’s designs for museums, space stations, residential buildings, cultural pavilions, gardens, and algorithms dissolve categorical and disciplinary boundaries, embodying ethical systems of infinite relationships on Earth and in outer space. In three monumental paintings, Treister takes the viewer out of their own perception of reality and transports them to world full of materiality, color, and shape. Glowing with an amber atmosphere, Kabbalistic Futurism-Space Station for Transforming Light, 2023, depicts a mountain range foregrounded by a city of multicolored peaks. Alluding to refracting light or settling dust, a celestial precipitation twinkles above this otherworldly landscape while a massive blue orb subsumes the center of the painting. The project’s central motif, a Tree of Life, appears above this orb, each node made up of colorful polygons, presiding over the foreign composition. Throughout Treister’s work, these unexpected combinations of light, form, and color become sites where the spiritual, cosmological, and political blend. With this exhibition, Treister encourages all of us to open our minds to the possibilities of transcendence and visions of a different future of humanity.
Suzanne Treister (b. 1958) studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982) and currently lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include solo and group shows at the ICA London; 10th Shanghai Biennale, China; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Netherlands; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Raven Row, London; Secession, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art (CAPC), Bordeaux, France; Annely Serpentine Galleries, London; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano, Italy; Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France; Helsinki Biennial, Vallisaari Island, Helsinki, Finland; and Juda Fine Art, London. Treister’s work is held in private and public collections including Tate Britain; Science Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, Poland; and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. Treister’s work, HFT The Gardener, 2015, was recently on view as part of Spiritual Technology at the High Line.