Alchemy is a celebration of the power of chaos. It’s created in honour of instinct liberated and boundaries dissolved. In short - it’s a salute to the creative alchemical power of cutting loose.
The words on Alchemy are by the hugely influential, horrendously misrepresented philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, from his cryptic philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra. They are an expression of his thinking presented in a much earlier work, The Birth Of Tragedy, on the vital ingredients that are needed to make truly great, transcendent art.
He states that the fusion of Dionysian (disorder, intoxication, emotion, and ecstasy) and Apollonian (harmony, progress, clarity, and logic) artistic impulses (as expressed in Greek Tragedy) allows the art to impart a sense of underlying essence, ‘the Primordial Unity’. This is a state which revives Dionysian nature, bestowing strength, fullness and the power to transform things towards perfection - to create true art.
Lucy Farley’s Figure In The Studio is a beautiful expression of Nietzsche’s thinking. The Figure and the exterior of the studio are almost pure white (harmony, clarity). The Figure is made up of geometric shapes (logic, harmony, progress). The Figure’s hand is consumed in the studio's fertile 'Dionysian' explosion of colour, chaos and energy.
The subject matter of Farley’s painting isn’t the only expression of Nietzsche’s Dionysian/Apollonian concept, it relates also to its specific process of creation and Farley’s own way of delivering ‘Primordial Unity’.
Farley uses multiple mediums to create her work (often painting, etching, printmaking and collage). This process allows her to ‘progress, evolve and a new abstract language to form’. Distortion - chaos - enters the work as it transfers between mediums. This prompts new approaches as Farley reorganizes memory and perception, maintaining the speed and spontaneity of original in situ drawings.
So, for all us Alchemists working to make precious things, carrying this wallet reminds us that a dollop of chaos shouldn’t be feared or regretted - it’s what we need to make gold.