112-page hardcover from Siglio Press / ISBN 9780979956270
A revelatory volume on an occluded genre of Indian art, Tantra Song is a convergence of East and West, the spiritual and the aesthetic, the ancient and the modern.
"It could be a cult classic: the debut edition of Siglio Press’s Tantra Song―one of the only books to survey the elusive tradition of abstract Tantric painting from Rajasthan, India―sold out in a swift six weeks. Rendered by hand on found pieces of paper and used primarily for meditation, the works depict deities as geometric, vividly hued shapes and mark a clear departure from Tantric art’s better-known figurative styles. They also resonate uncannily with lineages of twentieth-century art―from the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism to Minimalism―as well as with much painting today. Rarely have the ancient and the modern come together so fluidly. In Tantra Song, Jamme assembles some of the most pulsating works he’s acquired, while unpacking his experiential knowledge of Tantra’s cosmology."--Lauren O'Neil-Butler The Paris Review)
This collection of rare, abstract Tantra drawings was conceived when the French poet Franck André Jamme stumbled on a small catalogue of Tantric art at a Paris bookseller's stall. The volume included writings by Octavio Paz and Henri Michaux, and Jamme became fascinated by the images' affinity with modern art and poetry. He read voraciously and even journeyed to India, searching in vain for Tantric practitioners, until a bus accident on the road to Jaipur sent him home to France with serious injuries. When he returned a few years later, he met a soothsayer who proclaimed that Jamme had now paid sufficient tribute to the goddess Shakti and required him to take a vow: he must visit the tantrikas alone or only in the company of a loved one. Since then, Jamme has gained extraordinary access to very private communities of adepts and their intensely beautiful works. These contemporary, anonymous drawings from Rajasthan are unlike the more familiar strands of Tantric art--the geometric yantras, or erotic illustrations of the Kama Sutra. The progeny of seventeenth-century illustrated religious treatises, these drawings have evolved into a distinct visual lexicon designed to awaken heightened states of consciousness and are imbued with specific spiritual meanings (e.g. spirals and arrows for energy, an inverted triangle for Shakti). A revelatory volume on this occluded genre of Indian art, Tantra Song is a convergence of east and west, the spiritual and the aesthetic, the ancient and the modern.