Loki Series.

I had always felt connected with the darkness that suffuses Norse mythology, even before getting to experience actual destruction in my own life. There was something in that impending doom that spoke to me. The beautiful, stark scenery. The violence and subtlety. The aesthetic pleasure of poetry and visual arts as a temporary respite from thinking about the end that would eventually come.

Destruction came to me first as the irreparable loss of my self-image when I was nineteen and a car accident changed my face. But it visited me again and again after that, as an impulse to constantly rearrange my life and wreak havoc on the comfortable stability of my days. To lose something in order to gain something else, the way Odin gives up his eye to become a clairvoyant. And the way Tyr, the trustworthy Tyr, sacrifices his hand to help fetter the wolf Fenrir and keep him from harming the world.

But it was Fenrir’s father, Loki, who most excited my imagination. This shape-shifting, seductive, funny, but most importantly destructive character who doesn’t fit well anywhere. He is the son of giants but he will gain Odin’s trust and become his blood brother, only to betray him and the other gods again and again, and is therefore included in the Norse pantheon almost unwillingly. To the careful reader, Loki, this enigmatic creature that often shifts shape and sex, is not just a seductive trickster. He presides over nature’s cycles of birth and death and he is ultimately the force that will destroy the world so that the earth can rise again from its ashes, and the Moon and the Sun, swallowed by the progeny of Fenrir, can be replaced by their more beautiful offspring.

The work presented here is not an illustration of specific episodes in Loki’s mythological career. It is loosely inspired by him and his energy, a mixture of desire, melancholy, hope and disillusionment that resonates within me at a time of uncertainty and unrest, in what feels like the end of a cycle.

There is at least partial excitement over the one that is about to come. But at the same time, like the Voice in the beginning of the Waste Land by T. S. Eliot, I am disturbed by the dull insistence of Spring, by its pointless and almost cruel attempt at regeneration.

Loki will start a new cycle whether I like it or not, as one of his fearsome children, the snake J√∂rmungandr, reminds us by biting its tail around Midgard.