James Jacob Pierri: Xanadu


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Written by Elizabeth Maskasky for THE ARTISTS FORUM, MAGAZINE
Photo: James Jacob Pierri
Copyright 2012:
The Artists Forum, Inc. – All Rights Reserved

5 out of 5 stars


NEW YORK, NY (Thursday, March 1, 2012) Meditation, painting, smart phones, interior design, and ancient Egyptian deity myths- these all play a role in James Jacob Pierri’s explanation of his interior design processes and inspirations. The intratextual nature and strong stylistic coherence of the pieces in Pierri’s Xanadu; Interior Art Design Sculpture collection is offset not only by the many, seemingly unrelated sources of inspiration he draws upon- which, after all, span not only mediums but millennia- but also by Pierri’s artistic development. Pierri describes himself as a self-taught artist who is less concerned with status than with the creative process. He is an astrologist, a writer, a classical and pop musician, and a graduate student pursuing his Master of Anthropology in Pagan Studies and Research. He is also a self-described “modern devotee” and Priest in the Isian faith, a 5,000-year-old tradition that has its roots in the Egyptian mythos of the goddess Isis. But rather than read as the next career move in a series of artistic transformations, Pierri’s Xanadu collection seems the perfect culmination of his diverse experience.

The titles of the pieces refer to Isiacism and the Isis and Osiris myth, which for Pierri represents a “very romantic story of eternal love that is lost, found, and restored.” His highly meditative artistic processes are very much a parallel to this story of destruction and recovery as, according to Pierri, the “ripping of the strips of canvas, muslin, cotton or jute is a violent act that creates peace later when re-applied and weaved together or knotted together.” Meanwhile the wrapping of the wooden frames in canvas recalls the act of mummifying a sacred body. But, not to worry, for Pierri these pieces, and in fact the entire field of art itself, are still very much alive.

“The art world like social technology [has] changed,” Pierri says. “Art needs to do more than hang on a wall and look pretty, it needs multiple functions. Like a smart phone, art too needs to be more versatile.” The sculptures are both decorative and functional, serving as interior spaces themselves. Pierri conceals hieroglyphics that are said to carry special enchantments within the sculptures’ wooden frames. The Xanadu sculptures are small (the largest is 3ft tall), designed to bring comfort and peace to a room, rather than overpower it. They are soft looking, even in photographs, tactile, and layered with knotted cloth, paper, and ropes. Titles like Prayer Boxes and Citadel also impart a sense of interiority, of very human spaces, whether personal or collective. And this is what most differentiates the Xanadu pieces from iPhones, social media, and even much contemporary art; they acknowledge and attempt to relieve a basic human need for personal space, for contemplation, for one’s own sanctuary. Whatever objects or spaces we are able to set aside for this function in the future, they are unlikely to be smart phones. Hopefully this won’t be Pierri’s only foray into interior design.

//picx James Jacob Pierri: “CITADEL” 1ft x ft Cube cotton Canvas toile twine Isis Pictured

//picx James Jacob Pierri: Knots of Isis H.3ft x W.1ft D. 31/2” Cotton Canvas Toile Twine

//picx James Jacob Pierri: A Xandau interior I

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