Tag Archives: Sabina Nore

A night with Sabina Nore

December 30th, 2013

Sabina is a soul with broad interest for many arts. She currently presents herself through the visual, having her work described with terms such as Fantasy and Surrealistic. With her rational and creative mind, she challenges the audience to break out of what she calls ‘loops’, repetitive ways to respond to situations. I am staying at her house in Vienna. Being around her is losing the sense of time. Day and night flow into each other and lose their grip on me. She has inspired me in writing. It’s almost midnight when we move to her atelier, and I start taking notes. While we talk, her son Christopher unleashes a cascade of photographic clicks, taken from any angle you could imagine. His constant movement and effort for the proper picture are impossible to ignore but they quickly become an appreciable part of the setting, Sabina’s life.

I’d like to let her paintings guide our conversation. She gladly explains them in more depth. We start with the Divine Fury, because that one hangs in the permanent collection of the Viennese Museum Für Phantastische Künste. It is also one of my favourites. It represents a goddess of vengeance. The painting is the first in a set of three, which together show a chronological story. They express female resistance against those who disturb the natural order. Though fury itself may appear negative, it is in fact an important thing. Goddesses of vengeance have been painted regularly since the Medieval Age, but they were historically depicted as ugly, because male painters perceived female goddesses that way. But the anger they possess exists with just reason. If you suppress the divine, there will be a reaction.

The Divine Fury shows a personification of the ancient wisdom that existed long before the emergence of religion. Her hair is tied to the tree of knowledge, this woman is knowledge herself. Weak men demonize women of knowledge. They represented women either pure as a muse, or as the devil herself. The bloodsuckers on the body of the woman on Divine Fury represent those who attempt to capture her energy. The burning cross on the background represents the burning of the witches. Wise female’s voices were violently silenced, sometimes even with mortal methods.

“So, she has all the reason to be mad…” I say
“Wouldn’t you be?” Sabina looks at me with a slight flame in her eye.
“Write that down!” – commands Christopher.

In Fury Rising, the second painting, the goddess breaks out to restore the natural order. It combats strong players who prey on fragile young beings. It removes the sources of mass delusion we are currently dealing with in society. The trash that is being sent upwards in the background represents the cleaning of the place when fury comes in action. There’s a medusa head statue on the background which is crying. From her tears grow roses. It is a renewal.

Sabina says that she was far less passionate to paint the third painting, but it had to be done to complete the story. It shows the fury as a content, blissful being. The pools have a male and a female figure in them. They are in balance. When everything is in order, there is no reason for fury. The painting is an important part of the story, because it shows what the fury strives to.

When I ask Sabina if these paintings also represent aspects of herself she answers that they have nothing to do with an internal conflict. She explains that she chose to build her own career so that she doesn’t have to deal with the crap society has gathered throughout the years. From a distance it is easier to see what others are facing in their daily lives. These paintings are about women setting the angry part of themselves free. Women’s drive for justice is not as hideous as has been framed for ages. That’s easier to see if you are not part of it. She tries to represent that in such a way that people understand it.

When I ask her if she ever felt angry while painting she answers she was all the time. She was the fury. Sabina becomes that which she paints. The emotional charge was highest during the first painting. Most of the emotions happened inside, invisible to others, but sometimes a spark of anger would come out. It was exhausting for her. After finishing the first painting, she realised that she had to paint a few more. She apologized to her family in advance. During Fury Rises, she repeatedly listened to the same song; hating the haters by Niereich, not something she would usually listen to. When she finally got to the third painting, there was no fury left.

We move on to the Privileged Lovers. The title was based on a poem with the same title by the mystic poet Jelaluddin Rumi. It is about love without ego or games. It’s about giving yourself to each other without fear. An alternate title is The Quintessence, the place where the gods reside. I ask her if such love can last, she answers yes. She explains that a funny chain of events led to her painting this. She had started writing an essay about love with the mission to demythologize it and unveil the illusions poured over people’s hearts and eyes. She was ready to give up on the quest for the perfect other even if she had thus far always very strongly believed in it. While she started the essay in the belief that she had read too many fairy tales in her youth, she explains that fate set things up to change her mind. She didn’t want to finish the story. She first painted the Immortal Quest, which is essentially about the never-ending search for egoless love. After that, she painted the Privileged Lovers.

In this case she didn’t experience the love while painting, but something similar, seeing the potential. When asked, she says this kind of feeling cannot exist when you’re on your own. You can experience many other beautiful experiences while alone, but this one needs the meeting of Yin and Yang. She does not believe that just any two humans can reach it. Each one would have to be quite evolved. If either of the two has too much ego, that gets in the way, and then it is not possible to give yourself completely.

I ask her if she has tips on how to encounter such love. She answers that more important than finding the right match is to be the individual that can establish this kind of connection. If you find the one, but you are not ready, you might wrongly conclude that he or she is not who you are looking for. To become that individual who can recognize such a connection is a quest on itself. It is very blissful.

We move on to the final painting, Sub specie Aeternitatis. The title was a word invented by Spinoza, meaning “from the point of view of eternity”. The unique feature of this painting is that there are two versions: one with the foreground scene, and one without. The one without is called Aeternitas, eternity.

The background represents the hall of lives. It is the perspective where you overlook them all. Sabina believes in reincarnation. She has always lived her life from the point of view of eternity. Eternity is now for her. From the point of view of eternity, every moment matters. Living in the now means not to dwell too much in the past, nor to focus on the future all the time. If you’re always in the moment and make all choices from this point of view, every moment brings something important. You either give everything you have, or you learn something new. Sabina enjoyed painting this, because it meant being in the space of eternity, believing she could stay in that hall forever. Paint that from now on.

The woman on the foreground is a traveller. She is living her life from the perspective of eternity. Carpe diem, carpe noctem, carpe vitam. That’s Sabina’s motto. Seize every moment of our entire life. Seize life itself. By leaving the woman out in Aeternitas, Sabina stressed that this is not just a personal thing, but a choice anybody can make.

There are plenty of details left to discover in Sabina’s paintings, but I stop writing down her words. We spend another few hours talking. Christopher goes to sleep. We watch a film, then talk some more.

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Conjuress of Dreams

She lives on a mountain, among the clouds. You know whom it concerns. She has us all under her spell. Let’s hope her intentions are good.

It was a hot night when it came to me. Do you know them? Those nights where dreams and wakefulness collide. My life had been a mess so far. I lacked touch. Nobody likes to work behind a screen in a multi-storeyed prison for the soul. Not me at least. I realised that many years later. Things had come alive.

I lived in a dark house. It wasn’t big, but even so there was a room I didn’t thread for years. Filled with memories, filled with mess. Remnants of a life I’d never asked for, yet I could not part with them. A fellow knocked one day. White beard and on his head a black Jaguar’s face. He wore long layered garments: black, white and grey. Sinister though he may have seemed, a spark lit up his eye. There was no formality, no respect and no hesitation. He entered my forbidden room; despair pulled me in after him. He showed me things, these objects of the past. He showed me pains that were long gone. The door was open, just like that. No way could it be shut.

I woke up, my brother called. My mom had died that night. Some force tried to turn me inside out. Filled with guilt I cried about that dream. I cursed this wicked man in robes for opening that door. Hated her on the day she left, for all that she had done.

But how can we be sure? A woman with a gift like hers is bound to go corrupt one day. If she owns us and the darkness owns her, then are we not all doomed to befall?

Dreams are no strange thing to me; I have them all the time. But there was something about this one that caught my attention. Some light that it expressed. It was a vividness inside. It revealed a power hidden not just in the dream, but in my life. Does it matter if I describe the events to you? I honestly don’t know.

A day like all others. I was walking down the street. I live in the city, you see? Picture the streets. Take a city where you feel at home. My sister called, I picked up, she said I sounded strange. Different. More powerful or something. I told her it was because of the dream I had that night. Just like I’m telling you now. She asked what it was about. But I did not answer. She kept asking. What difference does it make? My dream is my dream and it means to me what it means to me. You’d be distracted by the words, by the shapes, by the feeling. You’d give it a twist of your own. But the dream was not yours. I could perceive beyond these shapes and thoughts. Not that they weren’t there… at all! But my relation to them was different. Lighter. I could see through tables and mirrors, through layers of reality to look deeper inside. A different kind of knowing I would say, more visual. I do believe that I saw God that night.

My brother sounded manic that day. I wouldn’t know how else to call it. And do you see? He’s in a hospital now. Delusions of the severest kind. Drawing orbs on walls where he may not, with little pictures inside sometimes. The words he says make little sense. One moment everything is beautiful, the next moment everyone is evil, and the next… Nothing. He sits there; silently, unmoved. For hours! I cannot stand to see him that way. I hope he’ll be better again. It started with that devilish dream.

Should we take it from her? She is doing harm. Have you seen how they ended up? Have you seen them all? There are many. Have you followed them? Do you understand? We should take it, before it’s too late.

It takes courage to cross the jungle on your own, especially for a girl. Courage and some madness perhaps. But I did. The journey was long, timeless it would seem. Past snakes and monkeys. They were listening to me. They sometimes did what I wanted them to. Yet they attacked me. Sharp teeth. Then I fought them off, in rage. They’d stop when I calmed down.

Some trees were impossible to chop. I’d have to climb sometimes. Grab lianas and swing from branch to branch. I was determined to cross these woods and would. I’m sorry for the plants I hurt, for the bushes I broke, but I had no choice; this was a one way road. Then, the landscape changed. It went up. I still don’t know what all these cables were, more and more of them, until all my eyes could see were thick black ropes, all pointing to the horizon. I followed them.

A triangle rose as I approached. It grew bigger and bigger and at some point I must have realised it was a pyramid. A voice when I came near: “enter only when you are ready, else you’ll burn in light”. Isn’t that a weird offer? I came all the way, crossing all this trouble, and then this voice offers you a choice? Of course I entered! I could not even consider the question, so full I was with purpose and drive.

It was a maze inside. Challenges alternated. I saw flames. I felt them. Gentle changes in the pressure of the air. They burned. The red flame burned my clothes. Crossing it left me bare. The green one burned my flesh and bones, the blue flame burned my mind. When I finally got out, I was alone with nothing more than soul.

I heard the voice again. “You are ready now”. I am not sure if what moved next was the pyramid or me. A blinding light shone through. It was a dream that led me here, but now I’m not dreaming anymore. I can’t wake up. This is it. This is where it ends.

Where do we look for her? We could track her traces in the skies. If she does reside in the heights, then it should be easy to find her that way.

What drives a man to take a boat and cross the Atlantic by himself? I didn’t know when I left. But I can tell you, being out there on the big blue, being out there on your own brings you an answer. The waves support a lot. Yet if I’d have to tell the truth, the biggest answers came in my dreams. I wouldn’t be able to explain why these dreams occur so intensely, but I definitely have more attention for them now. I have the time to contemplate them. Or better: I am forced to be with them.

In fact, my decision to take this trip was triggered by one dream in particular. At first I thought this dream was very clear, very literal and easy for me to understand. I had to sail and on my own. But as I lived the choice, as I sweated blood on my boat, the whole perspective changed. I did not take this trip because I understood the meaning of this dream; I took it because I had to figure out.

In the dream I stood in front of a … woman. Under her, enormous waves whirling her robes. I am still not sure if they were made of water. I cannot say. I was compelled. It might have been liquid fire, such potency I sensed in her. Many things occurred silently. Little events of my life passed by, little stories I’d forgot so long ago. Other lives, as if they were my own. She bowed, all that time she bowed opening her arms to me. And then, suddenly, she looked up and watched me briefly. Briefly though she pierced deeper than anyone ever before. Beyond my soul. One word was all she said.

“Sail”

Looking back I may have left to deal with that look. I must admit that I miss it. I’ve never seen it on earth. But it seems such things aren’t meant to last. I left, free to deal with it all. Deal with it at the four winds’ pace.

Keep trying. We’ll find her. We have to. We’ve looked for centuries. I began to doubt.