The Laband Art Gallery is currently presenting Psychopomp, an exhibition comprised of works by thirteen contemporary artists. Psychopomp, a term that dates back to ancient Greece, describes different beings who guide us from one place to another, from the unconscious to the conscious, from life to death. They are tricksters, healers, midwives, shape shifters, and border crossers. One of the most recognizable psychopomps is Hermes, the Greek messenger god of trade, thieves, and travelers.
Co-curated by Anthony Bodlovic, an Assistant Professor with CFA’s Department of Marital and Family (Art) Therapy, the exhibit seeks to explore how modern psychopomps help us navigate through physical and virtual spaces, personal turmoil, and political strife. This concept was adopted by Carl Jung, who expanded the original definition of the psychopomp to someone who serves as guide of the soul.
According to Bodlovic, the exhibit highlights the role art therapists play in modern life. “As a practicing artist, I am interested in how contemporary art informs art therapy,” he said. “As art therapists we (and the art) act as psychopomps, helping the client make new connections and ultimately guide them toward transformation. In a way, the show models how a therapeutic process (or any ritual process) may occur, and the role of the therapist as a guide that aides in self-discovery.”
Visitors to the exhibition begin their journey before even opening the gallery’s doors. As they cross a specially-created threshold, visitors enter a disorienting space where immersive works act as guides on a voyage of transformation and self-discovery. In relating the intent and process behind the exhibition, Bodlovic described the art and the desire to create a transformative experience for visitors. “The art in the exhibit is a journey, and many pieces are interactive,” he said. “We wanted to transform the gallery space into one of potentiality and activation. By having a more hands on experience, viewers have a different experience of the art and of gallery spaces.”
Psychopomp will be on view at the Laband Art Gallery through March 19. For more information and for a list of all exhibition-related events, please visit http://cfa.lmu.edu/labandgallery/