From the series Brain Drawings, 1952

Jordan Belson
1926, Chicago, Illinois, USA – 2011, San Francisco, California, USA

After studying painting in the 1940s, Jordan Belson engaged in musical and visual experiments to expand the concept of non-objective or abstract art to film, and completed in 1947 the first of his 33 films. Called by some “cosmic cinema”, Belson’s films explore the dynamic relationship between form, movement, colour, and sound. Belson used optical printing, frameby- frame, and basic animation techniques, mirrors, kaleidoscopes, and a variety of low-tech equipment. His lesser-known graphic works were often studies for scenes in his films, such as the use of scroll paintings in his early works. The film Samadhi (1967), featured at the 32nd Bienal, is fundamental in Belson’s body of work. The word Samadhi, according to Buddhism and Yoga, refers to states of concentration or deep meditation. With this Belson explores the relationship between spiritual perception and scientific theory, drawing from Oriental philosophy and religion as well as Johannes Kepler’s astronomical theories. The result of two years of work, the film – ‘a documentary of the human soul’, according to the artist – is accompanied by Belson’s ambient score. Most of the graphic works presented are being shown to the public for the first time.