- Hermaphrodite -
Oil on canvas, 2016
With his painting Hermaphrodite, Michael Maschka, who is constantly searching for the archetypes within ourselves, has once again succeeded in approaching a topic picturesquely in the manner that he is reknown for – masterfully contexualising mythological and mystical elements in a photorealistic illustration – that has puzzled mankind since the beginning of time: The eternal mystery of the duality of things.
Following the basic motif in the tradition of alchemists, in Michael Maschka's fantastic picture out of the original chaos of prima materia rises, spherically limited by the four elements of our world and yet emerging out of them, with sun and moon shining on it, the fifth, the hermaphrodite, the quintessence of all existence. Based on a firm stand he holds the tested sword of the power of self-determination and the chalice of deep knowledge about the true being of himself in his hands. Lying at his feet, in their elemental force, are the tamed dragons of his completed transformation.
The hermaphrodite that only appears in the masculine in many languages, is neither male nor female. He is both at the same time, androgynous, and much more as he does not only unite the two gendered antipoles but all opposites within himself. For the two headed hermaphrodite there is neither inside nor outside, no (more) above nor below. Light and shadow, to be and not to be are all but nothing for him, as once he has completed the Chymical Wedding – an intra psychical process of the coniunctio of rex and regina – during which he recognizes and accepts himself in his full-scale dimensions, and grows into a “complete human”, even microcosmos and macrocosmos become one for him. He has, based on C. G. Jung “[...] melted the supreme opposites in the form of masculine and feminine [...] in a unity which includes no opposites anymore and is therefore incorruptible” and has “reached the climax of introspective intuition, which leaves nothing to be desired in audacity”.
In the aesthetics and immediacy of the representation in the painting expertly created by Michael Maschka, the eternally challenging duality transforms itself into a monad which rests within itself and lets us guess the archetype of the hermaphrodite as a subtle dream breaking forth from of our subconscious, passing over into our normal daytime consciousness, that wants to show us the way. But let us permit the unique, in form and colour coherent metamorphosis that has taken shape under the hand of the artist speak for itself. Let us view the hermaphrodite that has grown out of the profane world as an instrument of contemplation that would like to accompany us on the way to the philosophers gold – the intuitive solution of the bipolar mystery in the ultimate unity of the opposites.