There is a fantastic little gallery in Brighton with a big vision and an even bigger heart, whose mission is to remove barriers to accessing and engaging with contemporary art. The director of Fabrica invited us to visit and speak as an adjunct to their current exhibition, The Third Paradise: the Labyrinth and the Well, by the renowned Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Featuring an innovative cardboard labyrinth (maze), the winding pathway guides visitors through the gallery to a central wishing well which holds a mirrored infinity sign with an extra loop at the centre – an image well worth exploring. You can read more about it here.
While our job wasn’t to expound on Pistoletto’s work, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss the symbolic role of the labyrinth in more depth than is normally permitted in an introductory lecture. I feel like I come alive when I can discuss archetypal themes and the ways in which working with our own imagery enlivens and enlightens us.There is a particular line that I wrote as part of my doctoral research many years ago; I loved it then, and it still express my deepest belief about the power of the labyrinth, even though I wasn’t allowed to use it in my dissertation — I’ve been waiting ever since for the right time and place to put it out into the world.
The labyrinth is a container for imaginal experience.
The bare bones structure of the labyrinth may simply invite imagery into the soul of the walker, and that, for me is the essence of labyrinth walking, and holds the seeds for the insights and transformations I experience as I follow the labyrinth’s meandering pathways. When I attend to what crosses my path, literally and metaphorically, I invite my imagination to the party, and that, according to some, is the very best therapy there is. Imagery is rich source of healing!
Imagery is the soul’s native language and therapy is the bringing of imagination into areas that are devoid of it. – Thomas Moore