In happy night,
In secret, that nobody saw me,
Nor I anything,
No light and guide
But what in my heart was burning
-Translation of La noche oscura del alma (Dark Night of the Soul)
St. John of the Cross
Jason Haam is pleased to present Dark Night of the Soul, a group exhibition featuring works by Marie Cloquet, Thierry de Cordier, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pietro Roccasalva, Emily Mae Smith, Rudolf Stingel, Mircea Suciu, and Mary Weatherford.
The exhibition takes its title from St. John of the Cross’s 16th-century poem of the same name ‘La noche oscura del alma’—but also from Thierry de Cordier’s work “En una noche oscura…” (Canciones de el alma) (2002-2015), which is included in the exhibition. In the poem, the narrator describes a spiritual journey towards a union with God. The metaphorical contents of the poem—of the path from darkness to light—is visually mirrored in de Cordier’s work. The monumentality of the painting envelops the viewer within the deep-blue void, built upon text from the poem. Both the poem and de Cordier’s work, culminate with a process of salvation and revelation—of finding light, guided by darkness.
Much like de Cordier’s seminal work, the works in the exhibition are silent and brooding and possess an infinite depth, which unveils the existential nature of the human experience. Dark Night of the Soul brings together a group of monochromatic works that find commonality in a form of climax and revelation of emotional intensity, brought on by a sense of darkness.Their experiences are rooted, not in the mundanities and indifferences of life, but in the extremities of emotion—of subliminal fear and awe—that make life worth living. And it is only through this sense of journey are these experiences fulfilled, and only through darkness is the soul laid bare—as darkness has a way of revealing things obscured by light.