Skip to main content

Hallucinatory Art and Installations

Alex has been a photographer since he was in grade school. He has a diploma in digital photography. He thoroughly enjoys various arts.

Cambrea, C. The Wall [Mixed media]. Castle of Joy.

Cambrea, C. The Wall [Mixed media]. Castle of Joy.

Introduction

Hallucinatory art is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years (Chevrier). Of course, one wonders if it could go back even further. Because of its nonconventional style, it is difficult to pinpoint its exact origins. However, otherworldly experiences have been passed down for thousands of years, in our oral folklore and written dramas.

Blake, William. (1804-1807). When the Morning Stars Sang Together [Watercolor, gray wash, pen, black ink, and graphite]. The Morgan Library & Museum.

Blake, William. (1804-1807). When the Morning Stars Sang Together [Watercolor, gray wash, pen, black ink, and graphite]. The Morgan Library & Museum.

William Blake

No history of hallucinatory art would be complete without William Blake. His genius continues to be recognized, to this very day. He is considered a saint in the Gnostic Catholic Church, a necessary name to the poet, and an experience of blissful horror for the artist. It was in London, November 28th, 1757 when William Blake was born (Academy of American Poets). Even when he was young, William apparently had “visions” (Academy of American Poets). The woman he would marry, Mr. Blake “taught… to read and… write” (Academy of American Poets).

Blake, William. (1794). The Ancient of Days [Watercolor etching]. Wikipedia.

Blake, William. (1794). The Ancient of Days [Watercolor etching]. Wikipedia.

Salvador Dalí

No compendium on such a topic would be complete without noting the very famous Salvador Dalí. Much of his most famous work is incredibly cerebral and hallucinatory in nature. He is responsible for many interesting pieces, including an installation project called Dream of Venus (Zimmer).

Dalí, Salvador. (1936). Autumnal Cannibalism [Oil Paint on canvas]. TATE.

Dalí, Salvador. (1936). Autumnal Cannibalism [Oil Paint on canvas]. TATE.

Installations

Although two-dimensional psychical fine art can take the observer to new mental worlds, it is the hallucinatory installation that attempts to put the viewer in those worlds directly. This sort of work can be off-putting, exciting, strange, and the best kind of weird. The artist’s ability to expand the innermost fascinations of the mind into an external manifestation is sometimes genuinely quite impressive.

Tanning, Dorothea. (1970-1973). Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 [Ping-pong balls, fabric, wool, cardboard, and synthetic fur]. Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Tanning, Dorothea. (1970-1973). Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 [Ping-pong balls, fabric, wool, cardboard, and synthetic fur]. Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Kusama, Yayoi. I Who Have Arrived In Heaven.

Yayoi Kusama

“An icon of contemporary art”, Yayoi Kusama is known for her thought-provoking surreal works (Institute of Contemporary Art). She sometimes uses mirrors, to add to the experience. Her work, LOVE IS CALLING can be walked through, creating a sense of the mystical and visionary. Her installed piece Dots Obsession mirrors the aforementioned work with its inclusion of mirrors (DOTS OBSESSION). She is a fantastical artist for that which is fantastic.

Kusama, Yayoi. (2013). LOVE IS CALLING [Metal, vinyl, mirrored glass, wood, acrylic panel, and ceramic tile]. Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Kusama, Yayoi. (2013). LOVE IS CALLING [Metal, vinyl, mirrored glass, wood, acrylic panel, and ceramic tile]. Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Omega Mart

Omega Mart is a fresh and new gigantic installation. The observer can explore the odd and compelling cavities of this incredible art project. The piece appeals to the senses through auditory, visual, and physical stimuli. As a portion of the experience, one may view commercials, beforehand or afterward, advertising the work of art. Omega Mart features an abnormal mock grocery store, with curious hidden details.

Scroll to Continue

Omega Mart Commercials

Wolf, Meow. (2021). Omega Mart [Mixed media]. Las Vegas Weekly.

Wolf, Meow. (2021). Omega Mart [Mixed media]. Las Vegas Weekly.

Wolf, Meow. (2021). Omega Mart [Mixed media].

Seismique

Last, and far from least, is another walk-through installation. Seismique was created by a vast multitude of artists (Seismique). My favorite section of the immense piece is “a garden room that features oversized carved trees; custom lighting and ultra-violet, blacklight reactive painting; three large holograms; and aliens” (Knapp). In many ways, Seismique is comparable (even complementary) to Omega Mart. However, the two installations are different enough (although, not disparate) to warrant visits from those who have the time and resources to make the journey.

Carry, David and Brian Val Habisreitinger. Eden [Mixed media]. SagaCity Media.

Carry, David and Brian Val Habisreitinger. Eden [Mixed media]. SagaCity Media.

Seismique. [Mixed media].

Sources

Academy of American Poets. (n.d.). William Blake. Poets.org. Retrieved November 17, 2021, from https://poets.org/poet/william-blake.

Chevrier, J.-F. (2019, June 25). Between terror and ecstasy: Artistic hallucination. TATE. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-24-spring-2012/between-terror-and-ecstasy.

DOTS OBSESSION. Dots Obsession. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://play.qagoma.qld.gov.au/looknowseeforever/works/dots/.

Institute of Contemporary Art. (n.d.). Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING. Institute of Contemporary Art. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/yayoi-kusama-love-calling.

Knapp, G. (2021, January 8). Seismique’s Trippy, Interactive Art Installations Will Save Your Weekend. Houstonia. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.houstoniamag.com/arts-and-culture/2020/12/seismique-art-museum-opens-in-houston-2020.

Seismique. (2020, December 16). MEET THE CREATORS. Seismique. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://seismique.com/creators/.

Zimmer, L. (n.d.). SALVADOR DALI’S “DREAM OF VENUS” PAVILION SITE. Art Nerd New York. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from http://art-nerd.com/newyork/salvador-dalis-dream-of-venus-pavilion-site/.

© 2021 Alexander James Guckenberger

Related Articles