Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Remember the TV series BEAUTY and The BEAST with Ron Pearlman?

My best friend gave me a DVD of Season 1 of Beauty and the Beast and while I have been working on Fimo roses lately I have watched the episodes. I ordered season 2 from Amazon.com and have watched the first 4 episodes. For the first time I see the visual archetypal symbolism that resonates with me and it makes me think about how those symbols show up in my art or in collections, dreams, etc. Vincent and Catherine are yin and yang--opposites that complete each other. She comes from the world above and lives high in a sky scraper in an apartment that is surprisongly uncluttered. She has a collection of crystal eggs and balls. Outside, on her balcony is a large round relief of a winged goddess or angel. "With love's light wings did I o'er perch these walls..." and Vincent climbs the skyscraper to meet her on the balcony. But hesitates to enter her apartment. He lives deep beneath the earth, a world cluttered with books, art, stained glass, bronze statues, etc. The underworld is a place full of dream symbols and a spiral staircases leading down to echoing chambers and crystal caves. It is a place where someone like Mouse, who clearly has classic ADHD, is a valued inventor and problem solver, there is a blind "witch," and an old eccentric woman who paints murals. Children come here to escape from abuse above and are taught to appreciate classical music, Shakespeare, chess, etc. with no radio or television. Helpers above provide medicine and food. The clothing is amazing in its shabby beauty, layers of cloth, leather, fringes, etc. Catherine's clothes are so beautiful it makes you want to see a revival of some 1980s fashion designs.

Since that show was aired in the 1980s I have never looked at storm drains and workers going down into a hole in the street the same way again. I used to remark to them. "say 'Hello!' to Vincent for me." Now I realize that his underworld lies in each of us, in our subconscious. Jung would have been fascinated with that series. I would love to read what he would have written about the meaning of each archetypal symbol and light/dark image.

It was my favorite TV series and I'm sad to say that the third season destroyed it and will never be in my collection. The people behind creating the series left and Linda Hamilton was pregnant and wanted out so the new writer had her character murdered after giving birth. Don't watch the 3rd season. Pretend the series ended with the second season cliff-hanger.

There is so much more I want to say. Perhaps I'll write another post to say more about the symbols in Beauty and the Beast. For my readers who are too young to remember it I say see it if you can. The poetry Ron Perlman reads as a backdrop in some episodes is achingly beautiful and the images of New York at night and the waterfall in the underworld are lovely. The use of light and dark is an art in itself.

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