Archetype in New Age and ayahuasca art natural archetypal structure

Lavrov’s surreal art is psycho-logic

Artist Alex Lavrov does not have conscious explanations for some of the characters he expresses, but he recognises them as up close and personal. “I can explain or interpret only a fraction of the scene. I improvise my designs, thus my paintings are like dreams from the subconscious mind. I try to make sense of them in accordance with my limited knowledge of psyche, or self-knowledge,” he told Stoneprint Journal from his home in Vancouver, Canada. This post demonstrates that Lavrov’s painting titled ‘Laughter’, subconsciously expresses the minimum set of twelve archetypal characters, in the standard ovaloid sequence, with their eyes on the usual axial grid, and some limb-joints expressing a time-frame, as all complex artworks and rock art works of all cultures and styles do.

Lavrov sees himself, or his Ego, as the large central character with an open mouth, “communicating, and perhaps laughing”. He sees himself “communicating with the concave face on the left,” perhaps his Inner Self. The Self’s face, clasped by some fingers, does not have an eye on the axial grid, but its jaw is the limb-joint that subconsciously expresses one of the cosmic or ‘galactic’ poles, projected onto semi-conscious space-time. The artists had earlier posted this short poem or haiku as a description of ‘Laughter’:  “I heard you jumping out of my throat. /Are you real? /Or just hiding something I can’t quite see?”

Lavrov said the face under the mouth on his chest “may represent my hidden emotions,” thus similar to Jung’s Shadow. “The other faces in the scene are perhaps non-essential characters, but these identifications are only my personal interpretation or rationalisation. The work could mean something different to someone else.” But structuralsit analysis (see below) reveals that each face in this painting plays a specific role. Continuing the analogy to depth psychology, the face at lower left is the artist’s Anima, or inner female. Lavrov had posted these keywords or tags to ‘Laughter’: “psychology, smile, pretending, hiding pain, multi-dimensional, improvised, laughter, multifaceted, people.” Lavrov’s art styling is Cubist, which reflects the mindset born of the popularisation of nuclear physics, and depth psychology of psychic ‘mechanics’ in the 1900s. Cubism is thus more than a style, and part of a world view. The texture of his works is similar to the fractal surfaces of trance art. Lavrov describes the style as Cubist, Expressionist and Surreal. Below is a structuralist anthropology mindprint model art analysis by E Furter, of Lavrov’s ‘Laughter’.

Alex Lavrov: Laughter, 2020. The surreal expressionist artist acknowledges that inspiration is subconscious, and that conscious logic could not explain an artwork, or art. (Image with permission of the artist. Archetypal labels and axial grid added by E Furter). Here is a structuralist analysis using the mindprint model.

Type Label; Character (noting archetypal features):

1 Builder; Ego’s upper third eye (cluster, see also 15, 2c, 3), on a rotated (twisted) face.

2c Basket; Ego’s open mouth (‘instrument’, container).

And Ego’s half-closed (secret) third eye (reveal). C-types are off the axial grid, but between specific axes.

3 Queen; Ego’s left eye.

4 King; Animus or father/priest (king), right eye.

5a&b Priest; Animus or father/priest (priest), left eye, large (large).

5c Basket Tail; Alter-ego or White clown’s cap (weave, container). C-types are between specific axes.

6 Exile; Alter-ego or White Clown with cap (‘horned’), flat mouth. Both eyes (‘double-headed’) are on the axial grid.

7 Child; Shadow or Emotions (‘juvenile’) on the shirt (‘bag’, ‘beheaded’), left eye.

7g Galactic Centre; Shadow’s nose or jaw (limb-joint).

8 Healer; Shadow or Emotions, on the chest (‘bent forward’), right eye.

9c Basket Lid; Shirt (weave).

10 Teacher; Monk? (council, school), hooded (‘disc’).

11 Womb; Anima (interior), left eye.

And pearl (‘womb’, water) or seed (crops).

12 Heart; Red sphere in chest (heart) of Inner Self (angel).

13 Heart; Anima (interior), right eye, closed (death).

13c Basket Head; Inner Self’s spine (‘tree’, tail). C-types are between specific axes.

14 Mixer; Nun or angel in cape (lid), small (small), far from the axial centre (egress).

15 Maker; Ego’s right eye, open or conscious (order, re-‘create’), large (‘face’), one of Ego’s three (‘doubled’) eyes on the axial grid (see 1, 2c, 3).

Axial centre; Unmarked as usual.

4p Galactic South Pole; Father/Priest’s ear? (‘juncture’).

11p Galactic Pole; Clam shell (juncture). The two p-types resemble projections of the galactic poles in cosmology, since the planes of space-time also express archetype. Cultural media are all equally and perpetually original, and rarely borrow features from one another. The thin black ovaloids demonstrate the northern and southern galactic equators around these two poles. Part of one of these ‘equators’ are often reflected by junctures in an artwork or building site, here by the large mouth’s two corners.

Summer; Inner Self’s jaw (limb-joint).

Winter; White Clown’s horn (‘juncture’). The two solstice markers are named after parallel or analogous features in cosmology, since nature also expresses archetypal structure (see Furter 2016; Stoneprint, chapter on cosmology, and chapter on the Periodic table of elements).

The ‘solstice’ markers are horizontal to the axial centre. These polar triangles place the summer marker between axes 12/13-14, analogous to Leo-Cancer, thus implying spring and the cultural time-frame in Age 1/2-3 or Age Taurus-Aries, confirmed by the top central position of types 1 and 3. Artworks, built sites, myths or icon cycles of all ages that are themed on alchemy or psychology, usually express the framework of ‘Age’ Taurus. Themes of conscious access, seasons or calendar are usually set in the framework of ‘Age’ Aries. Transitional frameworks, as in this work, are typical of works themed on transformation or maturity. Structuralist features of expression are universal, and subconscious to artists, architects, builders, crafters and members of any culture.

Alex Lavrov also told Stoneprint Journal: “Art comes from the subconscious, not from drugs. Drugs can only open the door to the subconscious. I don’t have much experience with psychedelics, but I did smoke a lot of weed since my youth, drank a lot of alcohol, did LSD twice about two years ago, and had a year-long party with ‘extacy’ when I was 19, which left me with brain damage. I think the brain recovered in 5-10 years after stopping the use. Now I’m almost 40 and free from drugs and alcohol.” Structuralist analyses of artworks in the styling and textures associated with either natural healing trance (as in San Bushman rock art, and about 2% of every population, rarely conscious in artists), or ayahuasca, DMT, peyote, mescaline, mushrooms, psilocybin, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fairies, esoteric systems, religious ecstasy or other programmes, found no difference in the core content of the artworks (see Styles and ‘schools’ are instantly recognisable, but they do not change the core content or ‘grammar’ of subconscious expression of archetypal structure, natural inherent meaning, or culture.

Psychology themes seem ambiguous in conscious terms

Subconscious general themes in Lavrov’s Laughter are revealed by extra features of five of the sixteen types:

  • Type 1 /2 Builder, often including twist (here contorted faces and hands), cluster (proximity of faces), maze (broken context); opposite type 8/9 Healer, including trance (fractal texture, inner vision).
  • Type 4 King, often including squat, twins (here the four parts of psyche); opposite type 11 Womb, of interior (psyche).
  • Type 5a/b Priest, often including hyperactive (psyche personae manifesting), assembly (inner personalities).
  • Type 6 Exile, often including ingress (contraction), double-head (psyche personae).
  • Type 7 Child, often including beheaded (faces); opposite type 15 Maker, of churn (inner integration), doubled (psyche personae), face (here the main theme).

About half of archetypal features in the general theme here, form a cluster of apparently ambiguous features:

1/2 cluster /?/5 assembly.

1/2 maze opposite 8/9 trance.

4 twins /?/6 double-headed.

11,12/13 interior /?/6v14 ingress.

5 hyper-active /?/15 churn.

Artworks themed on archetypal ambiguities, being features that recur in two or three normally unrelated types, indicate a high level of maturity and personal integration, approaching self-individuation, which in this work is part of the semi-conscious theme. Some ambiguities in archetypal meaning are inherent in archetype and nature, as in the known clusters of ambiguous features such as equids (3//4//5a/b opposite 12/13), or reptiles (5//14//15), or birds (4//12/13//14) (see Furter 2014; Mindprint, section on inherent ambiguities in nature and thus in archetype). But some apparent ambiguities are only due to the limitations of conscious logic. This artwork unintentionally reveals the inadequacy of depth psychology terminology, developed by Freud, then by Jung, and stagnant since. Analysis of the work also reveals the inadequacy of structuralist anthropology terminology and formulae developed by Levi-Strauss, then suppressed into other approaches such as animism (see Furter 2019: Blueprint, on The problem of terminology and archetypal or natural meaning is an issue in the field of Semiotics, or the meaning of meaning (Furter 2018; Rock art reveals archetypal meaning, in the anthropology journal Expression).

Some of the archetypal features in the general themes of this artwork, and most of the archetypal features of each character, are not ambiguous (see the full list of known archetypal recurrent features in Furter 2019: Blueprint, on Certain predictable optional features appear in all cultural works, each feature at a specific average frequency. About 100 known features, of five kinds or levels, confirm the validity of structuralist analysis in revealing archetypal meaning among the recurrent character features and spatial features in cultural media.

  • This post is a supplement to:
  • Furter, E. D. 2014 Mindprint, the subconscious art code.
  • Furter, E.D. 2016 Stoneprint, the human cod in art, buildings and cities. Four Equators Media ($20 /E20 plus postage from South Africa, order on edmondfurter at gmail dot com).